Thursday, September 29, 2016

Arnold Palmer, R.I.P.

Arnold Palmer was made for TV. By that I don't mean he was prepackaged, like a television movie or a band or the star of a reality show. What I mean is that Arnold Palmer, without a doubt, was made for TV.

The cameras loved him, standing on the tee with that determined look, tossing aside a butt and hitching up his pants and looking down the fairway, then lashing at the ball with a swing that every golfer could identify with. When he sank the last putt on 18 to win a tournament, with that familiar knock-kneed stance of his, he would fling his visor in the air in triumph, a gesture which Tiger Woods would suggest after winning his first Masters. Before televised tournaments became commonplace, he starred with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player in Big Three Golf, bringing the sport out of the country clubs and to the masses, becoming the People's Champion. With his combination of charisma, talent and genuine likability, just at the moment television was coming of age, he was the right man at the right moment. Arnold Palmer was very good to television, and television was very good to him.

The cameras loved him equally when he was off the course, on the cover of Sports Illustrated and on the cover of Time, trading quips with Bob Hope or running through airports with O.J. Simpson or doing commercials on ESPN. In 2014 Forbes ranked him third on their list of the highest-paid athletes, even though he hadn't swung a club in anger for a decade. He made $42 million that year,* and I doubt it would have been that much if he didn't come across as such a warm personality on television. No matter where Palmer was when the cameras caught him, he appeared to be at home, probably because no matter how the cameras caught Arnold Palmer, they caught him being himself - a great competitor, a nice man.

*Palmer made $875 million in his lifetime; only $3.6 million came from prize money.

The stories are legion, and probably not worth repeating here, since they're so well-known. Suffice it to say Arnold Palmer may have been one of the most beloved athletes of all time, if not the most beloved. He never left until he'd signed every autograph, and the sportswriter Dan Jenkins once joked that Palmer would use a telescopic sight to make sure there wasn't someone out there still wanting an autograph. His friend and competitor Chi Chi Rodriguez said every golfer should be grateful for the impact Palmer had made on the sport. “When Arnie wins a tournament," Chi Chi said,  I make an extra $100,000.” He was responsible for the British Open becoming an international championship; after Palmer went over there and won, other Americans followed. Women wanted to be with him, men wanted to be like him, a drink was named after him. No matter where Palmer went on the course, his legions of fans - Arnie's Army - would follow. Even God seemed to be on his side - he lost a tournament at Pebble Beach one year because he had twice hit a greenside tree with approach shots; that night, a storm felled the tree. Hey, I report - you decide.

Golf has become such a staple of television nowadays that it's hard to imagine a weekend without a tournament on TV somewhere; there's even a channel dedicated to golf - which Arnold Palmer helped create, naturally. Without Arnold Palmer there wouldn't have been a Jack Nicklaus, a Johnny Miller, a Phil Mickelson, a Tiger Woods. Oh, they would still have played the game, and they would have played it well - but would anyone have been watching? Suffice it to say that no man has ever had an impact on the game, and the culture that surrounds it, than Arnold Palmer. And when he died on Sunday at the age of 87, it was a life well-lived.

Yes, there's no question that Arnold Palmer was a television star. Though there may be better players, longer hitters, bigger winners, there's only one Arnold Palmer, and we'll never see his likes again.

This post also appeared at It's About TV.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wish I'd written that

Art  began to champion everything opposed to the Enlightenment and science:  It exalted emotion over reason, instinct over rationality, sensation over thinking, primitivism over civilisation.  Taught first in art colleges, this avant-garde philosophy found its way into recording studios.  In fact, a number of influential British rock musicians actually started out as art students, among them Keith Richards, Peter Townshend, Eric Clapton, and John Lennon.  As a result, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Who, Cream, and many of the other British bands were deliberately creating music that expressed the philosophy of the artist as a romantic hero who smashes established culture to create a new culture of moral freedom, emotional release, animal energy, and vivid sensation.  The sheer energy of rock -- the pounding beat, the screams, the spectacle -- is intended to bypass the mind and appeal directly to the sensations and feelings."

Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey, "How Now Shall We Live?"

Take that from the turn of the century book, then modern pop music being listened by the generation protesting (see the Charlotte riots, Occupy Wall Street, and other left-wing marches) and ponder how the idea of defying authority heard in rock and rap tunes over the past 50 years has given us such lunacy of disobeying authority (note the number of police hatred in NWA's "Foxtrot the Police" and Tracey Darrow's "Cop Killer," and the famed Time Warner shareholders meeting where Charlton Heston protested Mr. Darrow by reading in front of the Board of Directors for the company the ditty whose title is too lewd to publish.

Do you see a pattern based on what Mr. Colson (now deceased) and Mrs. Pearcey wrote a generation ago?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Of Ted Cruz and some old thoughts

It recently came to my attention recently that in 2012, Gaither Music released a DVD and music CD called Gaither Homecoming: Celebration, that features more selections than was originally broadcast live on the now-defunct CBS Cable/The Nashville Network live broadcast on New Year's Eve, December 31, 1998, in what is now the City Park section of Charlotte -- and in the pre-LaRoche era, I took photos liberally of that concert.

That reminded me of of the line in a popular Gaither song that could have been Ted Cruz's theme when endorsing Donald Trump, "Songs That Answer Questions":

I don't wanna spend my time praying prayers bombarding heaven
With requests to reign down fire on saints who care
In our methods we may differ, but if Christ the Lord we live for
May we not forget the enemy is out there.

It's easy to see who "the enemy" is in Mr. Cruz's mind.

But that was not my only thought.  First, the way he did the endorsement was reminiscent of Matthew 6:5 where prayer is not to be done in public, standing, and in public corners by simply announcing the endorsement on social media.  Furthermore, his late endorsement, just before the media conferences as the late Tony Snow called these "debates" 20 years ago on Fox News Sunday, has me thinking both of John Paul Jones ("I have not yet begun to fight") and also of a NASCAR Talladega shootout where after taking the lead for a few laps, he goes in the garage to repair damage, and returns to help his teammate in the draft, forming a long Trump "draft line," as referenced in the late 90's Social Science at 200 MPH analysing the draft and how principles of the Talladega draft work in life.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Wish I'd written that: What doesn't kill you...

About 20 years ago, a magazine carried an article which I remember vividly.  In fact, I thought it so clever, I clipped it, and used it for several years as required reading in a journalism course I gave, to illustrate originality in the use of research.  The reporter involved was struck, one day, by the realization that almost everything on earth was dangerous to somebody.  So he reviewed all the medical literature he could get his hands on, and came up with the most incredible list of dangerous products anyone had ever seen.  It turned out that practically everything touched, breathed, tasted or swallowed caused disease and death in somebody, somewhere.  The reporter's straight-faced moral was this: If you want to stay alive, don't touch, breathe, taste, or swallow anything.  The magazine's editors, at the time, thought it was hilarious, readers thought it was hilarious, and it was hilarious.  Twenty years ago, semi-literate hysterics had not acquired a dominant voice in the culture, and did not see an apocalyptic threat to existence under every bush.  What's more, all sane human beings knew that the very act of daily living involved risk."

- TV Guide writer Edith Efron, who wrote these words in 1976, meaning that the article she's referring to was written in 1956. What a bunch of wimps we've become.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Of Fort McHenry

Today's revisionist history taught via Common Core and other left-leaning education systems has intentionally removed our Founding Fathers and replaced them as heroes and heroines with those that give the Left ultimate glory.  Among the references removed is the War of 1812, which lasted until 1815.  Yet with the controversy rampant around the nation with disgraced athletes (names not referenced, but we know the guilty parties), they have intentionally ignored the importance of the War of 1812, and if they tried their tactics in Baltimore, they would be mocked owing to the importance of Fort McHenry, the Battle of Baltimore, and the correlation of an attorney from Frederick who worked with President Madison to release a friend imprisoned during the War of 1812.  In order to free the friend, that attorney went to observe the battle at the fort on a truce ship.  When seeing that the young country had scored a victory in the Battle of Baltimore on the next morning following the battles, that attorney wrote Defence of Fort McHenry to celebrate the resistance of the young country against Britain by seeing the country's flag staying.

Today, in that attorney's hometown, his name is used in its local Minor League Baseball team.  But what has been stored in Maryland archives is the famed document itself, Defence of Fort McHenry, which lead to the poem we know well today, from that attorney.

Much to the dismay of the protesters either in 1968 at Mexico City (which has been repeated now) or today (by certain disgraced athletes), who ignore American history in favour of advancing the Left's new narratives, we must remember the War of 1812, the Battle of Baltimore, and Fort McHenry, all of which has given us this important poem that was originally published on September 20, 1814, in the Baltimore Patriot and Evening Advertiser.  Have so many people forgotten it?

Note that the term "To Anacreon in Heaven" refers to the Anacreontic Society, a group of amateur musicians of the 18th century in London.  It was the attorney's request to Capt. Eades to use that tune.

NOTE:  Mr. Key's poem used abbreviations for some words, and for purposes of modernisation in this article, I have used the full words as it would be read in poetry.  Our Spelling and Poetry books had the poem in our poetry section, and obviously it was simplified in order to make it readable for our second-grade class, so I have kept the simplifications as I was taught this poem.  Summary of these slight word changes:  The term "O'er" is used when in modern English we would say "over".  In the seventh line of the second stanza, "'Tis" is used in modern English where we use "It is" or "It's".  The "e" is also not in the original poem in the third line of the fourth stanza, "heav'n".  And as was the case in our capitalisation rules in school, in this case, "H" in "Heaven" is capitalised.


The annexed song was composed under the following circumstances – A gentleman had left Baltimore, in a flag of truce for the purpose of getting released from the British fleet, a friend (Dr. William Beanes) who had been captured at (Upper) Marlborough. He went as far as the mouth of the Patuxent, and was not permitted to return lest the intended attack on Baltimore should be disclosed. He was therefore brought up the Bay to the mouth of the Patapsco, where the flag vessel was kept under the guns of a frigate (HMS Surprise), and he was compelled to witness the bombardment of Fort McHenry, which the Admiral had boasted that he would carry in a few hours, and that the city (Baltimore) must fall. He watched the flag at the Fort through the whole day with an anxiety that can be better felt than described, until the night prevented him from seeing it. In the night he watched the Bomb Shells, and at early dawn his eye was again greeted by the proudly waving flag of his country.


O! say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
Over the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the Rocket’s red glare, the Bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our Flag was still there;

O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
Over the Land of the free, and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, over the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected new shines in the stream,

It is the star spangled banner, – O! long may it wave
Over the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps pollution.
No refuse could save the hireling and slave,
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
Over the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

O! thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their loved home, and the war’s desolation,
Blest with victory and peace, may the Heaven rescued land,
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our Trust;”

And the star-spangled Banner in triumph shall wave,
Over the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Works cited:  Attack on Fort McHenry

NOTE:  The original news article spells it D-E-F-E-N-C-E, so it is correct.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Aarrr! International Talk Like a Pirate Day

I usually try to mention this every year; a few times I've even done the day's post in pirate lingo. Such is not the case this time, but in the spirit of the day, Fr. Z offered some suggestions for commemorating the occasion, to which I add my own:

  1. Try to refer to your coworkers as "me mateys" at least once during the day.

  2. Act surprised when someone asks you a question; say "Shiver me timbers" two or three times to confuse them.

  3. Watch two episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants.

  4. Afterward, go to McDonalds and order a Crabby Patty.

  5. Root for the Pittsburgh Pirates tomorrow when they play the Milwaukee Brewers (I don't know why they aren't playing today...).

  6. Start a film club and watch the original version of Mutiny on the Bounty.

  7. If you get a call from a political fundraiser, tell them that the candidate they're calling for should be "keelhauled." Note that it doesn't matter which candidate you're talking about.

  8. Walk around with a parrot on your shoulder. 

  9. Dig a hole in your neighbor's yard; when they ask you what you're doing, tell them you're looking for buried treasure, and add that if they don't like it, you'll see them in Davy Jones' Locker.

  10. Tell the next attractive woman you meet that you're looking for booty. Make sure you aren't the one who gets keelhauled.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Wish I'd written that: on language

A little classical conditioning could go a long way toward alleviating this nasty habit [of ending a spoken sentence with a question mark. A short sharp shock - via a subcutaneous electrode - every time an uptalking young person intones a statement as a question could rid the world of this onerous speech pattern.

Administering a full Taser pulse whenever a response to a question begins with the word 'So,' would make the world a better place."

- A commentor at Lileks this week. I've known several people who begin their answers with "So," and it invariably sounds half-affected, half-ignorant. So let that be a lesson to you!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Throwback Thursday: A new humanist theocracy?

I was raised in the reading of A Beka's wonderful history books about the United States, and the discussions of the Separatists, those who wanted a split from the Church of England, and the Strangers. It was a love of religious freedom that sent the Separatists on their way to the New World to settle nearly 400 years ago in the Plymouth Colony.

Now with the advancement of the homosexual agenda, including the systematic swiping of an entire region, I have this scary thought to consider:

Four hundred years ago, the Separatists left England over the fearsome arm of the Church of England, and a state-run church. Freedom of religion was the main goal, the ability to study God's Word, and being able to worship God. Now, in the same region, freedom of religion and speech are both being stripped, as homosexual activists have made it clear they want a humanist theocracy, where their agenda is the "gospel," and those opposing them are arrested and punished.

The Pilgrims, if they see what has happened today, would be very angry and wanting to escape the humanist theocracy that the sexual deviants have pushed on the nation, through the media and indoctrination of generations. They wanted to escape the state-run Church of England; now they are seeing a humanist agenda establishing a state religion, where the sexual deviants' agenda is law and freedom of speech and religion are eliminated by the state religion of humanism, which is controlled by the sexual deviants, with a President of the United States helping push the end of religious freedom and the push of a new state religion. While the First Amendment only bans Congress from establishing a state religion, today's modern humanist agenda is only glad using courts and state legislators to push a state religion where the state is a deity, and Christians are prohibited from any activity, from running ministries to help the needy, to adoption and foster care, and even teaching children a worldview opposed to the humanists.

Has the nation, especially in New England, fallen prey to a humanist order that is every bit as troubling as the Separatists 400 years ago leading them to leave England for the New World? The sellout to humanist ideas is the saddest thing we're seeing today. If Roger Williams saw what was happening, he would prohibit this humanist agenda.

Originally published April 27, 2013

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Opera Wednesday

Patter songs - what the always-reliable Wikipedia describes as " moderately fast to very fast tempo with a rapid succession of rhythmic patterns in which each syllable of text corresponds to one note" - are a wonderful feature of comic opera. It's almost impossible to listen to one and not smile, even if you don't understand what's being said. In fact, when it comes to your enjoyment, the translation really doesn't matter. If you don't believe me, listen to the famous "A un dottor della mia sorte" from Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), written by the master of patter, Rossini, and performed by a master of patter, John del Carlo. He's singing here with Joyce DiDonato.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The British report proves Jon Scott was right that morning

While other channels were still questioning what had happened, Fox News' Jon Scott used his personal experience as a pilot and his knowledge of both the original wanted poster (twin terrorist attacks on United States embassies in 1998) and the USS Cole incident the preceding October to this terrorist attack to specifically call this incident within 45 seconds of the second attack one of terrorism, and specifically referenced Usama bin Laden by name.

It was Mr. Scott who took the bull by the horn and immediately called out the terrorist king.   A British report released two months later called out Usama bin Laden by name and referenced numerous other terrorist attacks by the Al Qaeda network, including that of the twin Embassy Bombings of 1998, a failed January 3, 2000 terrorist attack that failed when Al Qaeda's homicide bomber boat sank before it could reach its target (an American destroyer), and then nine months later the successful attack on the USS Cole that helped cause the September attacks.

As we remember, it is very important we read this important British document.  It discusses all aspects of the Al Qaeda network.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

An important piece of American history

We must always remember when discussing history and this solemn weekend how President George W. Bush looked at the classic television and movie Western when making one of the most famous comments of his career, and more importantly, a message that fit with the War on Terror.  In one press conference, he forced the reader and the listener to look at the classic movies and television of an era far away, when the Wild West was popular on air.

I want justice. And there's an old poster out west, that I recall, that said, "Wanted, Dead or Alive.''

Those words on that  news conference six days later proved the point.  The President painted a Western and placed the terrorist's mug on a poster as an outlaw shooting and killing.  He pictured John Wayne and other actors of Westerns, as heroes trying to stop outlaws such as Usama.

As we remember this terrible anniversary, think about how a President used words to paint the picture of a Western.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Phyllis Schlafly, R.I.P.

The first time I ever heard of Phyllis Schlafly, I was in high school and she was fighting against the Equal Rights Amendment. I didn't really understand the moral dimensions of it back then - it was more the political struggle that interested me. And I didn't have the advanced understanding of just what "equal rights" meant either, but I knew ERA wasn't passing the smell test for me. Almost alone at the time, she spoke out courageously against it, she fought it tooth and nail, and she won. I admired her greatly for it.

The last time I heard about Phyllis Schlafly, she was embroiled in a battle with the organization she'd founded, and was stumping for Donald Trump. I don't think Trump would have been her first choice, but as was the case with ERA, she took a look around, saw the society in which she lived crumbling around her, and decided that something needed to be done. In this case, it was a battle she was not able to fight personally, so I think she looked around and saw that there was at least one person out there who was willing to stand up to the tidal wave. I admired her greatly for it.

It was reminiscent of her struggle against ERA - at the time, the amendment had steamrolled through state after state, and its approval seemed a foregone conclusion. Nobody was really opposing it, and it you believed the words coming from its supporters, there was no reason on earth why any rational human being would. And then when Schlafly, in the best tradition of American conservatism, stood athwart history and yelled Stop. She rallied thousands and eventually millions to her cause, and ERA was stopped - even after it received an unprecedented time extension. Whatever misgivings she may have had about Trump (and I don't have any inside information that she had any), she saw in him someone similarly willing to yell Stop at those who sought to take over the country and its culture.

History will ultimately tell us - in about three months - how successful Trump will be in his efforts. We need not wonder about the efforts of Phyllis Schlafly, though. Far, far more than the feminist icons whom the media trumpeted, she represented the "silent majority" of women and influenced the American political scene. Comparing her to, say, Gloria Steinem is like comparing a giant and a pygmy. And yet if you were to depend on the media and our schools for your education, you might figure Schlafly was little more than a gadfly with a meager following, nothing like the giants of radical feminism.

Well, I suspect she was used to that, as all conservatives are. She understood that ultimately victory would be decided not in this world, but in the next, and that here the best she could do was to pray and fight for what her faith and her political instincts told her was right. She died at the age of 92, a good and faithful servant with a life well lived

Friday, September 2, 2016

Flashback Friday: This just in

Judge Holds Lawyer in Contempt

(Artist's Conception)
PENSACOLA, FL - Superior Court Judge Horace Draper announced from his bench yesterday afternoon that he holds local lawyer Peter (Pete) Peterson in contempt. The silver-haired jurist outlined his findings in a damning indictment of the liability lawyer’s shortcomings. "The way he dresses, his butchering of the English language, his inept legal skills. That irritating lisp. I don’t even like the way he combs his hair. Let’s face it, the man’s a mess.

"He’s never appeared before this court," Draper continued, "and I hope to God he never does, but the man’s contemptible nonetheless."

Peterson was not immediately available for comment following Judge Draper’s declaration, but later that afternoon his secretary told a group of paralegals while standing around the coffee machine that Peterson wasn’t all that fond of the judge either.

Originally published August 31, 2006
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