Friday, October 29, 2010

Retro TV Friday

I think that by now, just about everyone is ready for policial campaign season to end. Republicans want it to end before their momentum runs out; Democrats can't wait to wake up from the nightmare they're living through. Most of all, though, people are sick and tired of the airwaves being poluted by commercials - particularly the endless negativity of the attack ads. You seldom hear a candidate talk about him or herself nowadays, to tell you what they plan to do for you. No, it's attack, attack, attack.

It is said, and I believe it, that one reason commercials are so negative is because negative works. In an era when many people vote not for a candidate but against one, it's only natural: voters don't trust politicans anyway, so spend your time convincing them that the other guy is even worse than you are.

Particularly if you're young, you might be surprised to learn that this was not always the case. In fact, candidates used to spend most of their time (and these commercials did take up time; no 30-second soundbite back in the day) talking about - surprise - themselves! And if they weren't in the commercial personally, the voiceover was all about them.

We can see this by taking a brief spin through television campaign history.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

DFL disgrace

Guest column by Cathy of Alex

When Ray from MN sent me an email with the appalling and disgraceful info he discovered about a DFL (Democrat-Farmer-Labor) postcard mailing I thought it was a bad joke. You can read more about it on Stella Borealis.

In Minnesota, the state Democrat party is called the DFL. Also, for the record, though Stella Borealis is a group blog, Ray from MN is the primary contributor and he is a he, not a she as has been erroneously reported in some publications. [Editor's Note: Mitchell is also a Stella Boralis contributor.] I know Ray has a big following among transgenders but come on! LOL

That the DFL would launch a campaign like this not only shows the most appalling anti-Catholicism; it also illustrates stupidity and a complete lack of understanding of their political base.

Many dissident Catholics, also known as "progressive" Catholics in the Twin Cities are DFL voters. They, frequently, ignore the Church teachings not to vote for abortion candidates because they are all about supporting the types of progressive causes the DFL typically espouses. The DFL is usually perceived by progressive and dissident Catholics as the social justice party.

Dissident and progressive Catholics, of whose number I used to be among, if they love only one thing about actual Catholic teaching is the social justice the Church advocates. Yes, their notion of what that social justice is and is not is often mistaken, but they embrace their concept of Catholic social justice in its entiriety.

I ask the Catholic DFL supporter today, do you not see that the DFL has no understanding of your faith, much less respect for it? If the DFL had a clue they would realize that they have gone too far.

Let's talk even more plainly. This DFL postcard campaign is a lame attempt at solidarity with the Catholics who were upset over Archbishop Nienstedt's marriage DVD-most of whom probably vote DFL. The DFL thinks it understands you and this is their response. "We know you hate the Church and so do we"

The DFL has finally "come out of the closet"

Cross-posted to The Recovering Dissident Catholic

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The mockingbird that don't sing

I must admit that I've never been a fan of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird - not in high school, when I had to read its earnest social message, and not the movie version, featuring Gregory Peck's wooden performace. (And how that perforance won an Oscar, up against Albert Finney's in Tom Jones, I'll never know.) Gratifyingly, it turns out I'm not the only one.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

On the links, Timberlake a modern-day Crosby, Williams, Hope, or Thomas

This weekend marks golf with a turn of the past.

Prior to the 1980's it seemed celebrity golf tournaments were everywhere. There was the Andy Williams (Farmers Insurance - San Diego), Glen Campbell (Northern Trust - Los Angeles), Bing Crosby (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am), Sammy Davis Jnr (Travelers - Hartford), Jackie Gleason (Honda - Palm Beach), Bob Hope (Bob Hope Desert Classic - Palm Springs), Dean Martin (tournament in Tuscon discontinued in 2006, now site of WGA Accenture Match Play), Ed McMahon (John Deere - Quad Cities), and Danny Thomas (St. Jude - Memphis) tournaments in golf.

The Hope is the only tournament with a celebrity name still attached, for aesthetic reasons.

In Las Vegas, of all places, no less, golf is back to its old tricks. Former “N’Sync” member and controversial pop “singer” Justin Timberlake has the third renewal of his version of the old celebrity name golf tournament when this week’s PGA Tour Fall Series event (the penultimate of the 2010 PGA Tour season), tees off Thursday in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open. The tournament, shortened to four rounds in 2003 and adopting its current name in 2008, was known as the maiden-breaker for a certain golf legend when it was a plain five-round Las Vegas Classic fourteen years ago. The Timberlake is to contemporary golf fans what those names of the past were in golf from three decades ago, as celebrity-named tournaments seem to have gone by the wayside. But it's good to see today's generation appreciate the past with this type of event.

But in an era of golf tournaments with fancy corporate names, this week’s golf stop is reminiscent of an era long gone in that we have a celebrity-named tournament and the celebrity and his friends are in the pro-am tournaments.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Our worst president, worst ex-president

From last week, one of my favorite writers, Joe Queenan, writes in the Wall Street Journal on one of my least favoriate politicians (HT Weekly Standard):
With the recent release of the exquisitely pointless "White House Diary," his 25th entry in the literary sweepstakes, Mr. Carter has now written more books than James Joyce, Jane Austen, Gustave Flaubert, George Eliot, Virgil, Homer and Jonathan Franzen. He has also written more books than Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Dwight Eisenhower, Woodrow Wilson, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and a whole lot of other presidents who got more points on the scoreboard than he ever did. Most ex-presidents have the good grace to stop at a single publication after they leave office, though more than a few have obligingly opted for the public's favorite number in this lethal genre: zero.
Not Jimmy.

The Oval Office equivalent of the Edsel, Mr. Carter has spent three decades in the wilderness retrofitting his image as the best, the brightest, and the noblest ex-president of them all. This is like trying to get credit for touchdowns 30 years after the clock has run out, with the score reading Eureka College 50, Navy 0.
Devastating on all counts, and it gets better from there.  I've heard many people talk about Carter as someone who might not have been a good president, but has led a productive life after politics.  But, as Steven Hayward points out in this book, Carter out of office has done almost as much damage to this country.  Small-minded, petty, vindictive, jealous of the success of others, and an inhabitant of the far left, with an anti-American streak that demeans his status as a former president.  (And how did he ever get there, anyway?  I have a feeling that in a couple of years, Americans will be asking themselves the same question, and providing the same kind of answer.)  So when you consider Carter's legacy, please don't let yourself get sucked in by the touchy-feeliness of his charitable activities.  Look at his words, his actions, what he stands for, this failure of a politican, and then assess his legacy.

For those of you who were wondering: yes, Eureka is the alma mater of Ronald Reagan. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

What liberals want next: humanist indoctrination before acceptance to college and poking on every medication you buy

In the University of California system, students who attend parochial schools cannot be accepted to the system because their science, literature, and history courses do not subscribe to the humanist worldview that is required, as the state has mandated, and a court has approved. Meanwhile, students are being forced into remedial classes. This is a byproduct of the failure of the educational system that mandates a humanist worldview to be taught in the schools.

So Catholic and Protestant parochial schools are now illegal in California, as they are denied admission to colleges because their textbooks do not comply with the humanist worldview. Meanwhile, we accept this and this.

The reversing of the Bush era trends towards Health Savings Accounts (on individuals) and new policies on Flexible Spending Accounts (on corporations) show how this wicked government of the CCCP want to destroy health care in order to make Big Brother bigger and to make them your deity.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dame Joan Sutherland, R.I.P.

For today's Opera Wednesday, I thought it would be appropriate to remember the life of Dame Joan Sutherland, who died this week at 83.

In this clip, she was Lucrezia, and Stafford Dean was Alfonso in this duet of Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia from 1980, at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.

Here are a pair of articles from Dame Joan's native Australia, remembering the great career of "La Stupenda," aka "The Voice of the Century."

Opera Chic has a roundup of Sutherland coverage, including this excellent article on why Sutherland was so unique, which contains this perceptive comment that offers hope to all of us who tend to look back with a sense of melancholy on the long-lost "good old days":

Sutherland makes nostalgia look silly -- there's no repertory that's too hard to bring back to life, if you have the talent. She makes us hope that someone else -- with the right voice and, maybe, the right mentor -- will come after her, to surprise us, to show us once again how it's done, here and now.
And that's as good a note as any to end on.

No, wait - here's a better one:

(Mitchell contributed additional comments to this article.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Remembrance of Series past

Apropos of Steve's post from Thursday on the death of afternoon baseball, here as proof is the TV Guide listing from that 1965 World Series, from Thursday, October 14. 

There was a seventh game, of course, and it was played at 12:30 that afternoon.  (There was a heavy rain overnight, but thanks to helicopters brought in to dry the field, the game was able to go on.  Perhaps the Twins wished otherwise.)

The first World Series game to be played at night was in 1971.  The last World Series game to be played in the daytime was in 1987.  Much has happened since then, of course, but this tells you a lot about what happened, and what was lost, during those 16 years. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Yes, that's today, and you might be thining to yourselves, "Well, that's cool and all, but what's the big deal? After all, last year we had 09/09/09, and next year we'll have 11/11/111."

Well, that's true, but is there something more special to 10/10/10? As one of Jonah's correspondents points out, "The binary number 101010 translates to the decimal number 42, which as you know is the answer to the question of Life, The Universe, & Everything."

And now you know the rest of the story. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A zonk channel runs a puff piece for the Dear Leader

For the past decade, any MTV Networks property has been off-limits to me (the last MTV show I watched was a 2001 special that was tied into the former Nashville Network that became Spike and their programming was in transition from CBS to MTV, but they aired programming as a tribute to a key figure on the channel during the Ed Gaylord and later CBS era), and MTV proper has been off-limits for nearly 20 years (ask anyone in Nashville and Charlotte with MTV did). In last year's Enemies List, we publicly said MTV has betrayed the cause of music where today's generation would rather have the latest secular pop, rock, and hip-hop tune in church than sing the time-honoured sacred song of generations ago (and the results of such Life Enhancement Centres include this singing of secular songs that are man-centred, not of God, of all things) that we enjoy (and have sung).

Now it has come to our attention MTV is organising a town hall meeting next week that will be a puff piece for “Dear Leader” in Washington that will air on three of their “top” channels – MTV, CMT, and BET. They want information and based on their lovefest for the President but not other leaders in the past, it will likely lean heavily left. Even Vanity Fair has a list of what to do and not to do in this broadcast. After all, didn't MTV's homosexual network offer a glorified press conference where Dear Leaders spoke, where he favoured them, but not Fox News? We know what they want. They betrayed music, now they're betraying America. Next betrayal by MTV?

MTV is truly, with apologies to Monty Hall, and now Wayne Brady, a Zonk.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Yes, yes to no-no

There was, not surprisingly, only one topic of conversation around the sports water cooler this morning, that being Roy Halladay's no-hitter in Philadelphia’s opening game against Cincinnati yesterday. As just about everyone knows by now, Halladay’s was only the second no-hitter ever thrown in postseason play, joining Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series.

Oddly enough, this was the very thing I had been planning to write about tomorrow. Not Halladay's no-hitter, of course, since he hadn’t thrown it yet, but Larsen’s. October 8 is the 54th anniversary of Larsen’s perfecto, and for the hard-core baseball fan that date triggers a Pavlovian response in much the same way that July 4 or November 22 or December 7 do to the historian.*

* I don’t mean in any way to equate Larsen’s no-hitter with these other dates, some famous and some infamous. It’s just that if you say “October 8” to the aficionado, many of them would immediately respond “Larsen.” It just does.

I’ve long thought that Larsen’s performance was perhaps the most remarkable in the history of sports, or at least baseball. This piece by Cliff Corcoran lays it out very well – we’ve had postseason baseball since 1903, when the first World Series was played. From then to 1956, a span of 53 Series (there was none in 1904), you had a maximum of 371 games that could have been played. In all that time, there was only one no-hitter.

Since then, we’ve added a Championship Series in each league (starting in 1969), expanded it from five to seven games (in 1985), and added a Wild Card round (in 1995), meaning that in the 53+ years since Larsen, you’ve had a maximum of 1,245 games that could have been played, or almost four times the potential number since Larsen.* And in all that time, with all the opportunities we’ve given them, no pitcher was able to match Larsen until last night. If that doesn’t meet the definition of remarkable, I don’t know what does.

* I know, many if not most of these series went less that the maximum, but you get the point.  And anyway, I didn't have the time to count all the games.

And why should this be? 

Harmon, we miss you

It is Tuesday afternoon, October 7th. I am sitting here in an office at 9th and LaSalle in Downtown Minneapolis, on an absolutely gorgeous autumn day. From my window I see blue skies, puffy white clouds, and I hear that the temp is in the mid-70s. Fall weather in Minnesota just does not get better than this. What a day for a walk around Lake Harriet, coffee with a friend at an outside cafe on the Nicollet Mall, and finally, once again we can say this...a baseball game.

Or can we? The Minnesota Twins are in the playoffs. (Hats off to them for a fine season). The Yankees are in town. A beautiful, many say spectacular, new stadium, an open-air baseball field, (taxpayer funded, by the way) is sitting there ready for action. So, let's play ball. is the Yankees. It is the Era of Bud. It is National TV time. So the game today (as was last night's) will be played at...night.

The 1965 World Series in glorious sunlight
Ugh. What a waste of a day so rare. How sad that the joys of baseball, a spring sport, more a summer sport, a fall sport, yes, but NOT a cold-weather sport, will not be on display on a day like this in Minneapolis. I hope it doesn't get too chilly. I hope we don't have the sights of players with knit-caps, heavy jackets and mittens like we've seen in those interminable Red Sox-Yankee playoffs.

Then again, I kind of hope that the Twins can win some games and the playoffs get extended, and we play into later October, and on a much colder night we get a blast of snow. I would like to see how Bud would handle that. Maybe he would lead a parade of players and fans and hot dog vendors back to the Dome. Might as well.

We have lost a treasure, fall baseball on a day of sunshine and blue skies, and I'm not sure we even know it.

Yes, Harmon, we miss you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Opera Wednesday

Last Wednesday I mentioned the Met opening of Robert Lepage's new Rheingold. Apropos of that comes this thoughtful, provocative piece by Alex Ross on why Wagner is still relevant. (Wonder of wonders, not everything in the Times is bilge.)

Ross' point is that Wagner wrote not for an elitist, arts-and-croissants crowd, but for the masses - the audience to which, in fact, opera belongs:

Perhaps we’ve seen too many commercials with toffs in penguin suits to accept
the fact that operagoers are, in fact, a motley middle-class lot. And the Wagner
audience is the motliest of all — emeritus professors sit side by side with
“Ring”-loving schoolteachers, fanatic record collectors, neophyte opera mavens
and that woman wearing a Valkyrie helmet.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Mark Twain, who famously commented that Wagner "isn't as bad as he sounds." It's often used as a humorous riposte on the part of opera critics - or, more specifically, critics of Wagner, who cite the bombastic scale and epic length of his works. (I was going to include mind-numbing in that description, although with Wagner it's more likely to be butt-numbing.) Twain, though, loved to couch the truth in humor, and here Ross recounts Twain's words following his 1891 visit to Bayreuth:

He sent home an essay that reads at first like a methodical takedown: he notes
all the weirdness of the Wagner cult, the confounding aspects of the experience.
“Sometimes I feel like the sane person in a community of the mad,” he writes.
Then, just when he seems ready to give the knife a final twist, he reveals
himself as another convert. “But by no means do I ever overlook or minify the
fact that this is one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life. I have
never seen anything like this before. I have never seen anything so great and
fine and real as this devotion.”

This new production of Rheingold, the first part of the Ring cycle, may be good or bad. (You know our apprehension about new productions of the classics.) One thing it will not be, however, is indifferent, and for sheer spectacle it may well be extraordinary.

The only sure way to know is to answer the question yourself. Go see the live broadcast on Saturday afternoon at one of the many movie theaters carrying the Met's season. Don't let me, or anyone else, tell you what to think of Wagner - let yourself go, and let the truth come to you.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Wish I'd written that

Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money."

Joe Sobran. He was a man of great insight and great faults; in other words, a contradictory man, as so many of us are.  Here's a very fair and concise write-up of his legacy.  (H/T NRO.) 

Opinion Digest

Paul Driessen: Greens Shackle National Security and Renewable Energy.

End of the American Dream: The Green Agenda Is About Getting Rid of As Many Humans as Possible.

Doug Giles: ObamaCare, Alinsky, and useful "Christian" Idiots.

Roger Hedgecock: Single Payer Coming Under ObamaCare.

All Your Nation Belong To Us. Ole, ole, ole, ole! Death to the USA!  

Monday, October 4, 2010

Thoughts of the week

In response to Mitchell's commentary, I had a comment that was too long for commentary. But I'll start with some thoughts of Mitchell's post.

When I've been on stage, I've had to apply makeup, although it's not that well-thought. Bright lights will interfere with your face in more ways than others, so the rule is always makeup to "deaden" the glare. Hair? Too simple but the Pat Riley look has taken control in too many places. As for "purses" for men, I have had a chiropractor since the day at 20 when I destroyed my car in a crash. Chiropractors would rather have people sitting stable than one side higher than the other, which can happen with a purse. In an age where health is a bigger issue than ever, chiropractors recommend it for spinal protection reasons. Also, because men are now familiar with carrying items such as computers, tools, and workout clothing in bags, it has only desensitised the idea of men carrying a bag in public. A combination of chiropractors and the familiarity with carrying a laptop, workout clothes, or tool bag has made it possible for men to carry identification, money, and other important information in purse-style bags.

Our society is increasing feminised. The School Formerly Known As The Citadel is talking eliminating sports in order to comply with federal feminisation standards and punishing students for things that thanks to the courts are illegal as they mandated women to the school (which paves the thought: we have a girls' secondary school and two women's colleges in our state, but men don't have their own). Some schools have no sports for men in the fall but women have choices. UCLA built a new natatorium for women only. USA Gymnastics has grown increasing concerned about more men's gymnastics programmes being dropped.

Our increasing feminised society is taking place in church. Solid hymns and sacred song (which is what I prefer) have been replaced by feminised rock tunes and kids dancing to hip-hop. Female pop divas replace serious sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses. Modern church music is on the XX and not the XY side, with the tone of the songs increasing romantic ("I Could Sing of Your Love Forever," "Here With Me," "The Potter's Hand," and other numerous "worship" songs have this tone) and away from the strong God of the past. But since generations have been taught rock music in church, the effeminate is accepted. The strong-willed music that a classically trained singer would accept is gone, replaced by the pop tunes of the lowest common denominator.

And a few more things that came to me.

ESPN The Liar. All week ESPN was running advertising regarding ESPN Saturday Night Football on the ESPN Broadcast Network featuring the Stanford-Oregon match. Imagine when I checked the television, the ESPN Broadcast Network (#1105) had an ACC game, the ESPN Cable network (#1500) had a Big Ten game, and ESPN2 (#1501) had a Pac-10 game but it was not the Stanford-Oregon game. So the game being promoted all week was not even available here in this market. Maybe it could have been available on Game Plan or online, but the lying was proven. Meanwhile, the SEC was purring in the excitement of its CBS deal, as Florida-Alabama was available in 100% of the United States on CBS as the conference's status as the only conference with a guaranteed national game of the week continued.

NOTE: The channel numbers represent the author's home cable market, Time Warner Cable of the Midlands of South Carolina.

Verizon Choke. Just how many times can Penske Championship Racing choke at Homestead. They are thankful the Miami circuit is not on next year's Izod IndyCar Series because in two season-ending showdowns at the circuit, they have lost point leads to rival Ganassi.

ObamaCare Is Doing Its Job. Companies such as The Principal are leaving the health insurance business, and this is exactly what the proponents of ObamaCare have wanted. They are wanting to create the single payer, government as all, with rationing, and forcing everyone else out is the first piece of work. And for that, I am irritated because my legislators weren't allowed to participate in discussion or block it. It was run over like a monster truck by the West Coast Offense.
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