Friday, April 27, 2012

Retro TV Friday

Leave it to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling to use their "superstars" to promote their British rights holder's revival of the Goodson-Todman game show "Blockbusters" that had successful runs in both the United States (Bill Cullen) and in the United Kingdom (Bob Holness most notably). While it's the one versus one format with adults, much unlike the classic one versus pair format and the teenage contestants in the Holness (UK) version, see if you can detect a reference to a certain part of the game at the end. The original Goodson concept was interesting and would be better than the trash television that airs today.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

This Just In


CHARLESTON, SC – Organists at many conservative theological churches, irate at leaders' arrogance and requests to replace the church organist with $200 karaoke DVD's with the latest pop tunes from the Michael Jackson Library, Vivendi, or Warner Music Group, and even replacing the choir with teenagers gyrating to the latest secular pop music inappropriate for churches, have, along with fellow choral members who sympathise with them, announced a major statement against the rash of prerecorded church music that has become a rampant problem in today's houses of worship. Various classically trained singers, choral leaders, and musicians signed the statement.

The statement reads:

WHEREAS, the trends in church music pushed by the secular music publishing companies has been to eliminate the sacred Biblically inerrant songs that induce people into the basic fundamentals of faith,

WHEREAS, the modern worship songs used in churches are devoid of doctrine or theology, and can be sung in a bar more often than a church,

WHEREAS, the material is provided with a karaoke DVD that eliminates the job of the organist and allows the church music leader to focus on conducting the choir based on the pop, rock, or country beat of the music,

WHEREAS, other church music officials have replaced the choir in many events with youth dancing to similar popular tunes (often secular) heard on the radio today,

WHEREAS, the correct music of the church is not that of the self-help or the secular popular tunes that are rampant in today's churches, including Haugen-Haas, Sony, the Michael Jackson Estate, Vivendi, Warner Music Group, or other secular publishing houses, that are not based on the Bible but instead on people's feelings,

AND AS A RESULT, the church organist of serious Bible-teaching music is being phased out in favour of the inappropriate karaoke,


That all new contracts churches offer with organists install a prohibition of rock bands and folk instruments from church services, the prohibition of secular and other music that does not meet sound doctrine and theological standards replacing sacred songs, and a prohibition of pre-recorded music from all church services. The Association also requests the development of church choirs from youth to adult to sing sacred works of the entire church calendar, and not of the feelings-based “modern” gospel music that has been prevalent for the past one hundred fifty years.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Due to Circumstances Beyond Our Control...

We've had some difficulty with the link to the site over the last week or so. We're working to correct this, and hopefully we'll have some new content up in the next week or so. Rest assured, it's not because we've run out of things to say!

Dick Clark tribute: The Gamer

We know Dick Clark from his time in pop music, especially on American Bandstand, and the tributes in light of his death have favoured his pop music career. However, for me, as I grew up in the 1980's, and our ABC affiliate (WOLO) was notoriously weak and would skip Bandstand in favour of Crockett Wrestling, we'd use the Charleston or Augusta affiliates to get the show, but I wasn't into pop music (and still isn't, considering my classical music background). But it was some days watching the various forms of Pyramid that made me think of Dick Clark first as a game show host. We know him from Pyramid, but I remember him from hosting three other games, The Challengers (1990), Scattergories (1993), and the domestic version of The National Lottery Winning Lines (2000), and produced one of the more nerve-racking shows on television history, Greed (1999-2000), which came after college graduation and in a fall of frustration where I was humiliated to a bad point of watching losers every week, I badly wanted to see winners and even damaged things watching that show!

But there were other game formats he hosted that weren't as well-known (and I wasn't born then or was too young to remember) -- The Object Is (1963), Missing Links (1964), and The Krypton Factor US (1981).

And this doesn't include all the pranks on Bloopers and Practical Jokes, the various music awards shows (with the MDA Telethon falling under R. A. Clark for the first time this fall), and even the original Star Search as judge for his old partner in crime Ed McMahon.

For some reason, Clark was best at nerve-wracking game shows, either hosting or producing.

1963 (The Object Is): Dick's first game show.

1981 (The Krypton Factor): One of two British formats hosted by Mr. Clark, neither lasted long. A mentally tough game, this summer series crowned its champion, and the top two went to Britain to face the British top two of that year. The British won.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Retro TV Friday

The recent announcement that the utter disgrace known as MTV2 is producing a hip-hop themed version of a Heatter-Quigley classic that we've discussed over the years reminded me of this zinger from ten years ago on the 1998-2004 version of that very show.

I don't think whoever gets that disgraceful version will ever come to the standards of this 2002 episode. My, have times changed! (And I don't just mean the value of a win either!) 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Classic Sports Thursday

A recent tweet at the Michigan International Speedway reminded me of this Kmart vs Target 2000 battle in CART's FedEx Championship Series between Michael Andretti and Juan Pablo Montoya that thrilled the battle in one of the more exciting races during The Split II.

At a recent tire test at the two-mile speedplant, Mr. Montoya sent this:

"Pouring here in Michigan. Track needs a jet dryer. They used to have one, but somebody blew it up!"

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sad news

I am much more aware and defensive than I used to be. It's true. Everbody is out to get you. They don't know those are lethal weapons, those automobiles." -- George Vescey, quoting from Barbara Mandrell in her biography he wrote, Get to the Heart (1990).

As I woke up Sunday morning readying myself for church after a tiring Saturday (still sore from a half), I receive word from a singing friend of a local singer's death. After checking with a few others, I later confirmed it was the bass from last year's Messiah singalong, Wesley Brax, who had been killed in a two-vehicle collision in Ripley County, IN near Versailles State Park. The 23-year old Cincinnati student's car lost control in the rain, slid sideways, and crashed into a larger car. The smaller car's monocoque was smashed where the driver was killed instantly.

Prayers go out to the Brax family. Such a wonderful singer with a wonderful future snuffed out in an instant in that tragic crash. Wesley had performed at the Tanglewood Music Festival last season, and was set for a return engagement this summer.

Our Word Remembers the life of a young baritone on his way up . . .

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Opera Wednesday

You're likely to be reading a lot about the Titanic this week if you haven't already, and you're likely to read more about it on this site before the week is over. But for today, a curious tie-in between the Titanic and Opera Wednesday.

The Titanic's orchestra has long since entered the realm of history for playing throughout the sinking, until the ship itself went under. Much of the discussion surrounds what the band actually played at the end, which is another story altogether. But music holds a strong power of identification in human memory, and it is enough for a few bars of a tune to be played to bring back instantly all the feelings, hopes and fears of a single moment of time. And so it was with the final piece that the orchestra played in their concert in the first class reception room that night. It was the last piece that anyone would hear until the Titanic's encounter with the iceberg, and for Noël Leslie, the Countess of Rothes, it created a memory she would never forget.

That night the orchestra played the Bacarolle from Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann. It is a haunting piece of music, and when viewed in context of the opera it carries its own watery images, set as it is in Venice with its canals and boats. For the rest of her life, until her death in 1956, whenever she heard the Bacarolle the Countess would immediately feel the horror of that night, the bone-chilling cold of the North Atlantic, and the terror of seeing the great ship go down. It was that immediate, and that total. And here is the Bacarolle, one of the most popular pieces in opera, innocuous in its beauty, complete in the depth of feeling it could reproduce.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Rumor has it that Hadleyblogger Steve has a milestone birthday today. I'm not sure that we're at liberty to disclose the number, but it is said to be somewhere between 59 and 61. Happy birthday, my friend! Looking forward to having some of your insight back on the blog soon!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Wish I'd Written That

As much as we love the Brewers, unlike Jesus, they didn't die for your sins. With regard to beer and brats on Good Friday, let's just say that's why God created the three-game series." -- Milwaukee archbishop Jerome Listecki, telling Wisconsin Catholics to abide by religious teachings and avoid meat on opening day Friday -- Good Friday, when Catholics are not supposed to eat meat -- at Miller Park. (h/t Peter King at What I like - an archbishop with both a sense of humor and a sense of mission. Excellent combination.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Holy Saturday reflection

Traitors who so deeply grieve me, see how much my heart loves you.
To forgive you is my vengance.
You revile me in my shame.
Hear my earnest heartfelt prayer that our God fills you with grace.
This we learn is Christian love.
God, Jehovah, most holy one, You forgive the sinner all sins.
God, Jevovah, gracious one, You bestow the fallen grace and mercy.
Blest are they who follow you.

-- the duet in Der Tod Jesu (Graun, translated, L. Quackenbush, U. Wachsmann-Linnan.)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Holy Week

Yes, you can blame Dr. LaRoche for feeding me a diet of classical sacred works. But when you're being fed the best works from her, you're being fed a cornucopia of the greatest vegetables, fresh from the farm, and nothing processed.

For Holy Week, Carl Heinrich Graun's "Ein Gebeth um neue Stärke" from Der Tod Jesu is found here. (And yes, an English version is being performed at Dr. LaRoche's church.)

Good Friday

Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dalí, 1951

Opera Wednesday - Good Friday Edition

On this Good Friday, here is some of the most famous classical music of the season: the Good Friday scene from Act III of Wagner's Parsifal. Kurt Moll is Gurnemanz, with Sigfried Jersulam as Parsifal and Waltraud Meier as Kundry, in this performance by the Metropolitan Opera conducted by James Levine.  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Classic Sports Thursday

It's Opening Day for baseball, or at least one of the opening days - the season actually started last week with a couple of games in Japan, and there was an "Opening Day" last night in Miami, but today seems to be by consensus the real opening day.

Traditionally, Opening Day meant Cincinnati - in honor of being the first professional baseball team, the Reds always had the privilege of opening the major league season. They don't, anymore, although they always open the season at home, and it's just another of the great traditions that baseball seems to have cast off.

So we'll do our own tribute to the Reds, with this rare footage of the fifth game of the 1961 World Series, as Cincinnati took on the New York Yankees at one of the great ballparks of baseball's Golden Age, Crosley Field.

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