Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Foul Play: Late-70s flashback

Written by Cathy of Alex

I was browsing the “On Demand” offerings a while back and turned my attention to the “Free Movies” category. Occasionally, I can find an interesting freebie to select.

Foul Play from 1978 was one of the free offerings. I’ve not seen Foul Play for what must be, at least, 10 years.

I was 10 when Foul Play came out. My parents wouldn’t let me see it. I can’t remember if it was an R. In any event, my parents monitored by theater going pretty closely. The first time I saw it was on an evening movie offering, probably something like “CBS Night at the Movies” a year after it was theatrically released. I watched it with my friend Ann in her cool basement and we sat on her water bed. A typically cool, finished, 70s basement. Stereo, basement rotary phone (green), paneled walls, “Toy in the Attic”.

I seem to remember the movie did well at the box office.

It involves Goldie Hawn’s librarian character, unwittingly (you didn’t think she was playing a rocket scientist did you?), stumbling onto a plot to assasinate the Pope (a fictitious Pope Pius XIII) by a “Tax the Churches League”. There’s an albino, a dwarf, Gilbert & Sullivan, “Stayin’ Alive” and two songs, (yes two songs!) by Barry Manilow (who was hot then like Lionel Ritchie was in the 80s and T.I. today!)

It was interesting to view it again. I thought it was hilarious that the intro to the film “On Demand” was the TCM Movie Classics bit with Ben Mankiewicz. Alec Baldwin must have been out of the country or busy doing the “Marriage Ref”. Seriously, Foul Play is worthy of a TCM opening bit? It’s a classic? It’s even THAT good? No.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What you find out: Figaro, Philharmonic, and Glee

About 16 months ago, I had written a review of a South Carolina Philharmonic concert on this blog, "Dancing at the Phil," and referenced the winner of a contest where the student had won. The soprano that won was Mary-Therese Heintzkill, who sang the role of Suzanna last month in a production of Le Nozze di Figaro solidly as Suzanna, when the Countess was my voice teacher. I had a chance to talk with Mary-Terese afterwards and she was excited about going to Germany, but she is tied into both women to have taught me voice since I first took a lesson. Ah, the joys of great singers (she's in the middle of this photo taken after Figaro) seem to always be something I enjoy. Never knew much from that 2009 Philharmonic incident but I think she's winning me over after that.

A past dance partner of mine watched the controversial Glee episode in question I had referenced, and said after watching that Madonna-themed episode, all she needed now was a Stefani Germanotta-themed episode. I responded with a Figaro-themed commentary: "Glee, (Madonna) Ciccone, and some Stefani Germanotta? For me it's Heintzkill (Suzanna), Hill (Countess), and (Daniel) Cole (Figaro)."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Did you forget, media?

WWhen we arrived in South Carolina over three decades ago, I remember driving past Broughton Street (near the current location of our computer shop) to Bill Wannamaker's Chevrolet dealership that had existed for nearly 50 years for a car purchase. We purchased two vehicles from there, mostly from the same salesman, before the family sold the dealership to a combination of the Toyota dealership and a local insurance agent. Four years later, when they wanted out, General Motors took away our local dealership, and handed it over to the dealership in the town next door which has been in business since 1926, the Fairey family (Phillip, and now generations of Joseph Faireys, with III currently, and IV joining a few years ago; I remember watching Joseph IV playing ball for the private school in the area), who moved their dealership from Bridge Street to its current US 601 near the hospital and Interstate 26 (the Faireys added Cadillac in 1998 when the Cadillac dealership, a conglomerate, sold out; the Nissan half of that dealership was sold to the Brickles). The Chrysler dealership in town, a Brickle family dealership (Benjamin Sr, Jr, now III "Benji"), started as a Plymouth dealership in 1946 and also was about a thousand feet past the Wannamakers and slowly acquired all of Chrysler's brands where by last year, it was a Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram dealership, moving also to the new "Auto Mile" three years after the Faireys. The Buick dealership started as a Pontiac dealership in 1946 and acquired by General Manager James O. Guthrie in 1963 and later became Buick-Pontiac-GMC-Jeep before Obama started whisking the Guthries away; a Honda dealership was added in the 1990's, and Kia joined in January. They still are in their old US 301 lot, far from the Auto Mile of 601/26. (The salesman who had sold my father two vehicles joined the Guthries after Wannamaker sold the dealership; Guthrie died two years ago and was succeeded by his son James Guthrie III, so literally you have the GM and Chrysler dealerships run by guys with III in their names, as successors to their fathers (and more) who ran dealerships.)

That compares to the oft-sold Toyota (Covington, Whatley, Richards) and Ford (Horne, Driskell, Whatley, Gibbes) dealerships that are owned by out of town interests who have no connection to the community. The Ford dealership sales were consistent that Ford decided to pull its franchise in town, and give a dealership 20 miles to the west our region, 20 years after moving to US 301, about a half-mile past the Buick dealership. That dealer shut its offices in that city and instead moved to the local site, between the Buick and Kia dealerships of the Guthries. The former dealership location in that town is now a Life Enhancement Centre. How can you build loyalty when there's enough turnover? Ha! Let the feds seize your opponents, and hurt the family dealerships who have over 200 years of experience.

All the hubbub over the controversy over Obama Motor Company (remember The Seizure, which was politically motivated by the green car mandate of the feds and the Chicago Style work of this leadership?) over the payback of the loans reminded me that everyone's saying Ford is the only "innocent" party, Sorry, folks. This is the proof of that nearly six billion dollar loan they took from the feds for the Obama Tiny Car Mandate. Mind you remember that they produced this "Candidate's Choice" sticker referencing Obama? Nissan took another $1.6 billion off the same mandate that will result in the Leaf for Model Year 2011. Tesla received our cash to assist in more Tesla all-electric cars.

Why has few in the media remembered that Ford took our cash to build what Obama wants them to build?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Political draft lines: how a Talladega draft relates to social science

Sunday's Aaron's 499, NASCAR's second (of three) majors and the conclusion of the Grand-Am, IRL, and NASCAR Alabama Speedweeks (Talladega and Leeds), reminded me ten years ago an article about the social sciences taking place during the “draft” at superspeedways had been posted, and now it relates to social sciences. The Obama Administration's "draft line" of socialists, anti-family activists, environmental activists, Communists, the uneducated youth, follow the draft line minorities, and transnationalists, long and strong the power side for the past four years, is finding themselves challenged by the Tea Party "draft line" that is starting to form its own draft line of pro-life, pro-family, anti-tax, anti-socialist, and anti-massive spending groups banding together and trying to draft past the strong Obama line. This article I read many years ago went back to me because this analysis of the draft from 2000 is reminiscent of politics. Some of the Obama electorate is breaking away from the strong draft line.

What can the draft at Talladega teach us about social science? (from 2000):

Glee attacks top columnist and news analyst

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to see a speech at my alma mater featuring the great Ann Coulter. While the speech was well-thought, I have respect for the columnist, as might be expected. Unfortunately, Sony Pictures' Glee, which I've criticised for some raunchy songs and questionable material in the past, has gone over the edge with a recent episode.

A recent episode promoted the liberal “equality” and “equal pay for equal work” mentality of modern feminists when men are the ones being punished, as schools have, as Christina Hoff Summers wrote, launched a War Against Boys in school. In the Glee episode in question, the guidance counselor calls Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan as bad role models, but also adds Ann Coulter. Of course, musically, “Brittnee” means Siemon (a mezzo I know well) and Lindsey means Mr. Graham, my Senior Senator often called Grahamnesty by Jason Lewis (who before working in Minnesota had worked at Charlotte's WBT Radio).

It seems the union writers hired by Sony for a teen-oriented programme decided that the Madonna (who has mocked Catholics with “Like a Prayer”, “Papa Don't Preach,” and the highly questionable video “Open Your Heart”, and was called to the Oval Office after the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards incident with Miss Spears and Miss Aguilera) themed show should mock one of my favourite commentators, and one I've met. When you've met Olympic gold medalists (Retton-Kelley), a President of the United States (GW Bush), have run with a famous South African Olympian (Budd Piertse), World Series champions (Winningham and Sharperson), talk radio hosts (Hannity), and newspaper columnists (Coulter), the troubling path of Glee in bashing a solid columnist such as Miss Coulter is offending.

The author with Ann Coulter after her speech, April 1, 2004

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bewildering conversations with a 40-year old Protestant minister's wife

In my college days (this was years before I took my first voice lesson), I was a fan of a female pop quartet from Arkadelphia, Arkansas, where the entire quartet was from a college in the town, and one of the members had been a Metropolitan Opera contest regional finalist (just like my voice teacher). Recently, I shared an intriguing thought with her and after reading our discussion, she has a mind of classical music that she hasn't used that voice, but I wish she had done that instead, considering that female pop group has become a country trio since she left, and my musical tastes have leaned classical since my affiliation with my voice teacher.

Me: “I learned my voice teacher is singing in Mozart's The Impresario from Greenville (SC) Light Operaworks next week, and have ordered my ticket. What led me to a life of the wonderful classics and sacred song?”

Heather Payne: “Will she be Madame Goldentrill or Silverpeal? I was Madame Goldentrill in college. Fun times.”

Me: “Heather, it's Madame Silverpeal. The company lost theirs because of illness three weeks ago, and so (my voice teacher) stepped in to fill that role. The show is April 30. May 1 marks twenty years to my Encounter with Mary Lou, thirteen years to POG II, and seven years since my first singing in a recital!”

If I had not been pulled from the parochial school after sixth grade and lost years of development from severe attacks, maybe I would not have lost my love of singing I learned from school those years. But it took me until my junior year in college to relearn singing, and years after college I picked up formal lessons for the first time, at 26. And yes, it was that Lass from Laurel. And if you remember, she was the soprano soloist in Die Jahreszeiten that I sang last year. Sadly, it was too late to sing in opera choruses, and even in school choirs. It's hard to even find good choral gigs to sing at times.

“Honour and laud, and praise to thee. Infinite, merciful God! God of life, God of love, Infinite God!”

*If you're not familiar with this title, it was inspired by the blog of one man whose response is Who is Kenneth William Jennings III?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Opera Thursday

OK, we're stretching the definition of opera a bit today. (But if you can perform Steven Sondheim musicials in the opera house, as many companies do nowadays, then anything is possible.)

Samuel Barber did compose operas though; two of them, in fact - the memorable and moving Vanessa, and the not-as-bad-as-everyone-says Antony and Cleopatra. He's probably best known, though, for the Adagio for Strings, op. 11, a magnificent piece that turns up on movies from The Elephant Man to Platoon, any time someone wants a tearjerker moment.

Less well known, perhaps, is Barber's own vocal transcription of the Agnus Dei using the theme of the Adagio. It really is a beauty, suitable (IMO) for liturgical use, and it makes one wish that Barber had composed an entire Mass around it.

Sorry I couldn't find a better video for it, but I chose to go with musical rather than visual quality. (Although if you like your pictures of Sam Barber holding a pencil, this one is for you.) This is the choir of Trinity College at Cambridge.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Opinion Digest

Here's what we've been looking at the past few days:

Bernard Goldberg: Exaggerations exist on both the left and right, but only the right gets called on it.

James Allen: Button wins another wet race, moves to top of F1.

Charles Krauthammer: If Obama really wants to limit nuclear weapons, why doesn’t he address the two biggest threats?

Thomas Sowell: Experience teaches us the limits of power – precisely the kind of experience Obama lacks.

Joe Posnanski: Don’t look at expenditures when analyzing the balance of power in MLB; look at revenue instead.

Lenin's Birthday Digest

Thursday, most of the nation will celebrate hideously under the “Earth Day 40” anniversary banner the 140th birthday of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov aka Vladimir Llyich Lenin.

With this President's appetite for destruction of industry (see why GM and Chrysler were seizedd, as executives wanted trucks, and Obama wants the auto industry to make tiny “save the earth” cars), abolition of industry because of “global warming” (what a crock), no oil drilling permitted, no forest farming of trees permitted, Cap and Trade that would kill more industry, the glorification of the Service Employees International union at the expense of everyone else, and the “can't touch this” attitude where nothing is allowed except quiet to “save the earth” and destroy jobs, it has become “All Hail O Obama For Thee Brings Every Good,” an insult to Haydn, whose Die Jahreszeiten states from industry brings good, and industry is being attacked in Lenin's Birthday.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wish I'd Written That

think it is in his [Obama's] character to ridicule — this is a man on the day he won the Democratic nomination said that day would mark a day on which the earth began to heal and the oceans recede. So he does not have a low opinion of himself."

Charles Krauthammer on Obama's "You would think they would be saying 'thank you'" comment about the Tea Partiers.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Of deviancy, euthanasia, and taxes

Gospel” Music Week. As Gospel Music Week, fronted by the 41st Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, begins this week, news that a past New Artist of the Year admits a psychiatric disorder has riveted thousands of rock music fans across the nation where I was reminded events such as Lilith Fair (which she had performed a decade ago, and is slated to perform on the 2010 revival of the infamous tour) has infiltrated the Mainline and Emergent crowd when many Catholics and Protestants opposed it because of its promotion of that disorder, extreme feminism of what Rush Limbaugh calls the Feminazis, and the anti-life, pro-child killing lobby that participates in this “girl power” concert series, often selling extreme stickers promoting their worldview.

The utter irony is the GMA Dove Awards lost its coverage when rights holder Gospel Music Channel was changed as a result of a partnership between its owner Charles Humbard and that of American Life Network, now controlled by Robert A. Schuller, that flipped Gospel Music Channel from a “gospel music” channel to another television rerun channel similar to Mr. Schuller's other channels. Prior to the channel’s conversion into a rerun channel, they had offered live coverage of the awards show. But as I have learned in the Knoxville Affairs, once live coverage was eliminated, the entire planned rebroadcast days later makes it impossible to watch, as the drama is removed and replaced with a dog and pony show since everyone will have already seen the results.

Qualifying Cut Short. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has cut Indianapolis 500 qualifying to two days this year, but they've adopted World Superbike-style Superpole on the first day. Only positions 10-24 will be set once first-day qualifying ends at 4 PM (two hours earlier). The top nine cars have their times wiped out and they participate in a Superpole-style session (two attempts possible) at 4:30 to determine the first three rows. Qualifying in all three rounds (Pole Day, Superpole, Second Day) will be set by the IRL oval system (four-lap average)

Taxes. The government is now thinking of cooking up a National Sales Tax to pay for massive spending. Aren't we Taxed Enough Already? New dividend taxes, new tax hikes, taxes on medicine, health, what is next?

Parents' Euthanasia on Children. Abortion on demand has created an affair where millions of children die at operating tables for “convenience”. We've lost the sanctity of human life, and the President keeps nominating fringe activists who want unlimited baby murders. Now parents are telling doctors to pull the plug on their children at their request . . . euthanasia for children. Is there any more sanctity of human life anymore when murder is now legal at all corners? At this case we may have to eliminate murder laws since taking people's lives would become legal at any time with the way courts are acting.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Remember Nick Charles? (and I'm not talking about William Powell)

Back in the day, when CNN was the only news channel and ESPN had yet to become a multinational giant, the two used to go head-to-head with late-night sports shows. ESPN’s was, of course, SportsCenter, while CNN had Sports Tonight. Frankly, I always preferred CNN, primarily because it gave you the scores and highlights and weren’t as enamored of the up-close-and-personal profiles that ESPN loves to do. (This was before they turned their anchor position into open-mic night at the Improv.) Although it was a better show, it was ultimately no match for the Worldwide Leader, and the timeslot now belongs to Anderson Cooper. (You call that an upgrade?)

The lead team on Sports Tonight was Nick Charles and Fred Hickman. Fred’s problems over the years have, unfortunately, been well-documented, but I’ve wondered what happened to Nick. This USA Today piece brings me up to speed, and while the news is bad (cancer), I’m still glad to hear about him, and to have the chance to wish him well.

Here’s a clip of Nick and Fred from a “Best of Play of the Day” video that was released during the show's heyday.

Gingrich Surging?

This note from the Weekly Standard:

What's fascinating, though, is Newt Gingrich's surge into the top tier of presidential prospects. He's gained six points in a month, and is only one point behind Palin. His favorable number is about the same as Palin's, but his unfavorable number is significantly less.

My only surprise is that there is any surprise in this at all. Matthew Continetti discussed this in 2007; we weren't that far behind. (February 2008).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wish I'd Written That

George Will: “Next question. In 1954, Willie Mays — in an emphatic stroke of byzantine whimsy — made his over-the-shoulder catch off Vic Wertz. What was it not unlike?”


George Will: “Take it? Take it? Anyone take it?”

Mike Schmidt: “Um, the catch in Cincinnati ….”

Buzzer sound

George Will: “Sorry. It was not unlike watching Atlantis rise again from the sea, the bones of its kings new-covered with flesh.’

– Saturday Night Live, Baseball Quiz Show (H/T Joe Posnanski)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Prayer Request

Although I'm generally adverse to getting into personal matters (the TMI syndrome), I would ask in your charity that you pray for an (important, non-serious) intention of mine. Gracias!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

John Forsythe, R.I.P.

John Forsythe had a pretty good career. He was on three hit television series, which is three more than most of us and at least two more than many of today’s so-called stars. He was once referred to as “the epitome of the suave leading man." He was constantly surrounded on screen by beautiful women. I think we can agree that the man was pretty successful.

There was also an ease with which he handled many of these roles, particularly when he wasn’t the dominant character on the screen. Take the disembodied voice in Charlie’s Angels, for example, or the proto-anti-hero in Dynasty, the corrupt judge in And Justice For All, or the man trying so hard to hide the dead body in The Trouble With Harry.

My point is, you don’t remember the voice of Charles Townsend nearly as much as you do his angels bouncing (literally) across your screen.* You don’t remember Blake Carrington nearly as much as you do his his scheming, over-the-top, bitchy ex-wife Alexis (Joan Collins).** He was frequently upstaged by the painfully young Shirley MacLaine in The Trouble With Harry, and if Al Pacino had chewed up any more scenery than he did, they’d have had to have his stomach pumped. Yet I’d be willing to suggest that without John Forsythe, none of them would have held together as well. Even when he wasn’t center stage, it was impossible to miss him

* When I wrote this line originally, I typed “angles” instead of “angels”. Freudian slip, obviously.

** Who had some pretty good angles herself.

John Forsythe first hit the television jackpot with his 50s series Bachelor Father, where he played Bentley Gregg, a wealthy playboy (how could you not be with a name like that?) who abruptly finds himself father to his suddenly orphaned niece.* Bachelor Father was a hit for five seasons, and he followed it with a couple of seasons of To Rome With Love in the late 60s and early 70s, along with appearances on other shows and specials, not to mention Topaz, In Cold Blood, and other big screen movies.

* It was a rerun of Bachelor Father which the NBC affiliate in New York preempted with the first bulletin of JFK’s assassination. Just thought you’d like to know.

His unlikely return to stardom came courtesy of the 80s soap Dynasty, where he managed to avoid not only Collins’ claws but Linda Evans’ shoulder pads and still emerge with his dignity intact. It was the role of a lifetime for him, and he made the most of it. He was, in his 60s, a sex symbol all over again.*

* He was not the first choice to for the lead in Dynasty, incidentally. It was George Peppard, who turned it down (he claimed) or had a run-in with the show’s writers (they claimed) and wound up instead on The A Team. People laughed at Peppard and his bad fortune. For awhile. When The A Team became a hit, they stopped laughing.

Nevertheless, I’d like to think that people remember John Forsythe for more than just Dynasty, or Charlie’s Angels. I myself think of Bentley Gregg, who came along a decade before Brian Keith’s turn on Family Affair, or the world-weary writer Al Manheim in What Makes Sammy Run?, or the major determined to find A Bell for Adono on the Hallmark Hall of Fame. There were those, and many more roles, from a career that spanned seven decades in movies and television.

John Forsythe died on April 1, at the age of 92. As I said, not a bad career at all.

Opinion Digest

What you need to read:

Dennis Prager: "Pursuit of happiness" one part of the Constitution that liberals apparently don't get.

Charles Krauthammer: If we won't use our nukes, they won't use theirs. I mean, they promised!

Thomas Sowell: Don't shed any tears for Justice Stevens' retirement.

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf: Time for Catholics to fight back against biased media.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Opera Thursday

We're still in the Octave of Easter, so let's take a listen to something appropriate.

This is the lovely and famous Intermezzo from Mascagni's one-act opera Cavalleria rusticana, which takes place on Easter. As the Intermezzo plays, we see the empty village square on Easter morning, just before the villagers come out of church.

It's interesting that this orchestral piece - no vocal, just instrumental - from an opera that, because of its length, is virtually never performed without a companion piece (most often with Leoncavallo's similarly short Pagliacci, which has its own famous aria, "Vesti la giubba") has gone on to become one of the most famous pieces in all of opera.  After you listen, you'll understand why.

This 2009 production was conducted by Georges Prêtre with the Orchestre National de France.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Christ is Risen!

I had to choose going Down Under for this nice early autumn day for this version (Brisbane Concert Choir; remember the seasons flip-flop in Australia!) for #53 ("Worthy is the Lamb that was slain" and "Amen") of Messiah HWV 56 from Händel for today's Easter meditation. As we celebrate the Resurrection Morn, I reflected that I've only sung this once (December 2006) in concert setting and I've exhorted it in Liliann's singalong, regardless of the soprano soloist being Stallard (2005), Vance (2006, 2009), or Hill (2007-08). For this Resurrection Morn, naturally, I had to turn to my old standby to celebrate!

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath received us to God by His Son.
To Receive Power, Wisdom, Strength, Honor, and Blessing.
Blessing and Honour, Glory and Power, Be Unto Him That Sitteth Upon the Throne, Unto the Lamb
Forever and Ever. Amen.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Surely He Hath Borne Our Grief -- Holy Saturday

It is a sad state of affairs when young singers with an appreciation of serious music are forced to the sidelines and can only sing one-offs with larger-area church choruses for major productions, or community choruses because the churches in the area are dead set on the karaoke drivel of "worship music", which has become keyword for rock music spoken. This has happened to me, and I've had a few one-offs for Händel's Messiah. In a 2006 production in Charleston of selections that I sang, I had the opportunity to sing a song that was always intended for the Passion season, and why I've considered Messiah an Easter piece. It is "Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs," and I admired Stephen Distad (director) and Beverly Bradley (organist) for those selection years ago when I sang the piece. Sadly, I rarely hear this selection when I usually hear it, for most Messiah productions (including last fall's one-off) are oriented to the first 21 selections, along with #44 and #53.

(I attended the 2006 South Carolina Philharmonic version with Nicholas Smith as conductor and it was the full piece -- Cynthia Hanna was the alto, but I don't even want to talk soprano -- too close to my heart! If you're read my blogs you should know the soprano's name!)

Enjoy this selection of solemnity as we go through Holy Saturday of #24, #25, and #26 of Messiah. When I hear "Surely He Hath Borne Our Grief" I could just picture what happened on those mournful days, and reflect on the time I sang it myself, and even -- well.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Opera Good Friday

This is the famous Good Friday Music from Act 3 of Wagner's Parsifal. Sigfried Jerusalem plays Parsifal, with Kurt Moll as Gurnemanz, and James Levine conducting the Metropolitan Opera. From the description at YouTube, this summary:

Parsifal, after many years of wandering, appears with the spear that will heal Amfortas's wound. Gazing on the beautiful meadows, Parsifal says that on Good Friday every living thing should only sigh and sorrow, and the radiant Good Friday Music is a poignant meditation on the chief themes of the opera: suffering, compassion and redemption.

For more, you can check out this piece from a few years ago.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

This Just In

Obama’s Approval of Public Continues to Drop

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 1) In an exclusive interview today with ABC’s Good Morning America, U.S. President Barack Obama said he does not approve of the job the American public is doing.

“These are difficult times for us all,” Obama told correspondent George Stephanopoulos during the interview, “and we all have to do our part. I’m doing my share, but I don’t see you people out there pitching in.”

Obama told Stephanopoulos that he gave the public an overall 57% - 43% disapproval rating, the first time during Obama’s presidency that the approval rating had fallen that low. “I give them high marks for having elected me to office,” he said, but added that “people can only live off past glories for so long. Many of the same voters who basked in my spotlight on Election Night are now failing to deliver on their campaign promises to me.”

The President singled out voters in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia for particular disappointment. “You were with me in 2008,” he said, “helping Keep Hope Alive. But where is that hope now? You elect Republicans like Christie and Brown, and expect me to understand that? This is not the public that I came here to lead. How can a politician respect a voting public that says one thing and does another?”

Other areas in which the public failed to measure up include tax policy, deficit spending and healthcare reform. “The landmark affordable healthcare legislation, for example, is a historic moment in our nation. It’s the first time [Congress] passed something I can say I am really proud of. The fact that so many people are upset about it shows a definite lack of understanding on their part. We should expect more from our voting public than what we’re getting.”

Obama warned there could be dire consequences for the public if their approval rating continues to drop. “Immigration reform is just around the corner,” he said sternly, pointing a finger at the camera. “If you folks are not careful, I’ll just replace you with a different group of voters who understand what our mood here in Washington is.”

The news was not all bad for the public in this latest poll. “I know that it’s only a small number of people who are responsible for this overall low rating,” Obama said, “but it only takes a few influential voices to spoil it for all voters. Now, if you show more responsiveness to my legislative agenda, then I’ll be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. For now.”

Asked if there was one thing he would say to the voters if he could talk to them face-to-face, Obama paused for a moment before answering. “I have already pledged several times that I would not rest until the health care plan was passed, the economy improved, unemployment reduced, and our troops home. You try doing all that with a demanding wife and two daughters on your back all the time, not to mention a mother-in-law living under your roof. Give me a break, people. I need that rest.”

Flashback: A Song of the Passion

We head towards Maundy Thursday today, and the most solemn of days in Holy Week. As we look ahead, we look back to a few Christmas seasons past, where we who have read this blog for years learned about a popular Christmas song that actually has Passion-themed messages -- and sadly has been ignored. Let's flash back to this 2008 article where we uncovered the Passion of the Lyrics in a popular song.
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