Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Let's all sing some Pumpkin Carols!

I don't know; perhaps if you're of a certain age - my age, for example - you'll recognize this. I came across this typewritten sheet (which alone may tell you how old it is) in the archives of Thomas Jefferson University, from 1967. It would have been about that year that I first saw this, when I was in grade school.

Nowadays we'd use the term viral, as in "This went viral," but back then things like this were just copied and shared, until more or less everyone everywhere had them. So it's quite possible that this song sheet of Halloween "Pumpkin Carols" is the exact same sheet that we had in school in Minneapolis; and if not the same, then very much like what we had.

Pumpkin Carols, of course, come from the Peanuts cartoon It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and, like A Charlie Brown Christmas, it was popular right away. Hallmark came out with a book of Pumpkin Carols, which I suspect is where this came from, again back in the day where plagiarism wasn't that serious if you didn't profit by it. Anyway, here are some that I remember quite well - do they seem familiar to you? If so, you might want to click on that link above and look at all of them - and maybe get together tonight with your friends and sing some. I'll be looking out the window, waiting for the Carolers to come.

Opera Wednesday

This week the Church celebrates two of the year's greatest feasts: on November 1, All Saints; and on November 2 All Souls. All Souls in particular is a poignant commemoration, as we pause to remember friends, relatives, loved ones; those deceased souls who have no feast day of their own, no moment in which they are remembered by all, but as one philosopher put it, those "known only to God." It's a perfect occasion to meditate on Verdi's Requiem, which although not an opera, is often categorized in the operatic canon because of its length and style. Here is the beginning - the Kyrie, containing some of the most lovely music Verdi ever composed. It's performed by the Vienna Symphony and the Friends of Music Choral Society of Vienna, and conducted by Herbert von Karajan.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

1968, here we come?

As you may recall if you read my interview with Joseph Benti over at the TV site, 1968 was a pretty bad year. I've long had a fascination with '68, and a frustration with it as well. I don't go much for the music or the clothing or the hair; I don't care for the drugs or the sex or the Haight Asbury lifestyles of the times. It is, however, an intensely interesting time historically; the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy; the civil rights and antiwar riots sweeping the country; the chaos of the Democratic Convention in Chicago, the comeback of Nixon in Miami, the cliffhanger election night.

As we see our world seem to collapse before our very eyes, you hear 1968 brought up a lot in comparison. Patrick Buchanan, who was there in 1968 working on the Nixon campaign, asks the question: is it worse today than it was in 1968? The answer may surprise you; read it and see what you think. And if we're not there yet, is it where we're headed?

Wish I'd written that...

Life is hard. It's even harder when you're stupid."

- Attributed to John Wayne, but actually from George V. Higgins in The Friends of Eddie Coyle. It just sounds like something The Duke would have said.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Flashback Friday: The perversion lobby is out of control (social media attacks)

Writing this column days after being slapped with a social media suspension for saying the truth of the Kardashian-poisoned Bruce Jenner's appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight refusing to answer Mr. Carlson's question has allowed me to see the true form of “Bay Area Values” being imposed by elites on anyone who opposes their feelings.

During the episode of the Fox News program, Mr. Jenner (I refuse to use his Daytime Serial Drama for Men* gimmick) said he could not find any advantage of having men who claim to be women participating in women's sporting events, despite the contrary to incidents in New Zealand with weightlifting (man claiming to be a woman won national title), a mixed martial arts incident (man seriously injured woman in a woman's mixed martial arts event), and the previously mentioned incident we posted here regarding a lawsuit against CrossFit where the organisation's counsel sent a letter .

*In college, a few friends would get together and watch The Monday Night Wars every Monday night at the student union;  I had no idea of its popularity, but I learned they had called it a “soap for men”. A few times there was a pay-per-view  As we have referenced here in the past, the last “soap” went off the air in 2010, when the last daytime drama produced by a soap company ended.  These shows are daytime serial dramas, and “professional wrestling” would be called a male daytime serial drama, a derivative of these afternoon serial dramas being aimed at a feminine crowd.

The first I had heard of such stupidity was a 2002 movie filmed in Metrolina*, “Juwanna Mann,” where a man in a professional basketball league tries out in a women's league. Now we have seen the elimination of gender verification tests, and what standards are there next to be removed?

*Metrolina denotes a sixteen-county area around Charlotte.

In contrast to Mr. Jenner's spin doctors on Mr. Carlson's show, we must remember this:  Mr. Jenner was born with an X and Y chromosome, and the anatomy of a male of the human race. Notwithstanding hormone therapy or even surgery, he still has an X and a Y chromosome.  Sir, as the CrossFit letter to the competitor who sued to be in a women's division states evidently, he still has a genetic makeup that confers both physical and physiological advantage over women. No “sex reassignment surgery” will change any discussion. That's the genetic advantage CrossFit's attorney notes, Mr. Jenner and many supporting the perversion movement refuse to understand in order to advance an agenda.

Of course, the perversion movement takes advantage of elite cities and judges out of touch with an entire country to force their way when it was rejected, sticking their tongues out in front of everyone, and working to demolish any organisation (especially churches, Fox News, anyone with a Biblical worldview) that refuses to submit to their agenda. It is why Ted Cruz called out the Stonewall Values (which he referenced that drew the ire of New York City newspapers) being pushed at everyone else's expense. And after I answered Mr. Jenner by saying he is a male, and referenced that men should not be in women's events, I was reported probably by a perversion lobbyist and banned from social media for saying the truth.

Is there any truth left when the sexual perversion and humanist lobbies can dictate what can be said in society today?  Why is referencing CrossFit's letter to a male who claims to be a female wrong?  Why is saying the truth of Mr. Jenner wrong?  Why can a tiny group of crybabies impose their way as a CCCP Dictatorship?  I do not submit to these perversion lobbyists.  Why do we have to make their kayfabe be mandated as a “gospel” when the anatomical truth is banned?

Originally published April 27, 2017

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Stupid is as stupid does

Earlier this month I posted a brief quote, usually (but incorrectly) attributed to John Wayne, that "Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."

Let us now welcome to the world of the stupid the Kimberly-Clark company (stupid number 1), which has caved to a social media campaign (stupid number 2) to rid the world of the sexist term "Mansize," as in "Mansize Kleenex."  I don't know that Kleenex, mansize or not, ever harmed anyone unless it was used to stuff the mouth of a kidnap victim, and even then it would take a lot of mansize to accomplish the deed.

I try not to be stupid, though, or any more stupid than I normally have, so I'll let Joe Bob Briggs do the heavy lifting on this critique.

Classic Sports Thursday: Literature class in a sports broadcast!

Going back to literature class!

In this well-known 2017 clip at the Watkins Glen 355 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event, MRN's Mike Bagley (on loan to NBC for selected races) made what many race fans called the call of the year, and NBC had fun with it in their notes the next week.  But in analysing the call, we learned Mr. Bagley had referenced one of the greatest authors in literature and his work.  Can you spot the literary reference in this call?  Those who appreciate reading classics that the modern Left wants removed from schools will see it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Opera Wednesday

The news has been anything but positive lately, so let's have something a little more lighthearted. I've probably done the Overture to "The Barber of Seville" before, possibly with its Bugs Bunny tie-in, but here it is straight, performed by the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Yuri Temirkanov. It's one of Rossini's most charming pieces, and considering his lifetime output that's saying a lot.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Flashback Friday: Economics and technology

Courtesy of 2Blowhards, here's some very interesting stuff from Tom Wolfe on the cause of the current economic unpleasantness:

The whole thing, starting with the subprime, is the fault of the computer. I was just talking to a banker the other day, and not that long ago, 20 years ago, an investment banking house, let’s say, Lehman Brothers, when it got a package of mortgages, they would go through every mortgage, every single one, and they’d throw out the ones that just seemed absurd, they just wouldn’t accept them. Things used to arrive on paper. Today things arrive on a screen, and a screen is back lit, and one of the biggest pains in the neck is trying to read something dully written and complicated on a computer screen. It will drive you nuts—I mean, try it sometime. Now they say, ‘Oh, to hell with it,’ and they just accept the whole package. And if it hadn’t been for that, they’d be going over each loan. What’s happened is the backward march of technology.

"The backward march of technology." In an era where we too often think that all progress (like all change) is good, that's refreshing to hear. It also suggests just how lazy technology has made us. . .

Originally published October 16, 2008

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Aerosmith - again?

The awful "hair band" called "Aerosmith" is back in the news again.  We remembered how Mr. Tyler did awful National Anthems at major events that caught those of us who sing.

But this time, one of their songs is in the news.

In Los Angeles, at the StubHub Center complex, the women's track cycling UCI World Masters Championship has drawn the ire of many as a college professor -- a man who claims to be a woman -- won the Women's 35-39 group.  

This time, that awful song from Aerosmith, "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)," rings true.  The winner was a "Dude (looks like a lady)," and the real ladies lost.  This is Obergefell's "right to dignity" at its worst again.  Remember Dale Saran's warning in Jonsson v. CrossFit, which the Dude (Looks Like a Lady) won primarily because of Obergefell and the Exxon Mobil Payback.

"The fundamental, ineluctable fact is that a male competitor who has a sex reassignment procedure still has a genetic makeup that confers a physical and physiological advantage over women."

What gives?  Avery Brundage and Dale Saran were right.  How come a few judges reminiscent of that book in the Bible where they do what feels right in their heart have rights nobody else has?

Friday, October 12, 2018

Flashback Friday: Wish I'd written that...

Today's horoscope, courtesy of The Onion calendar:

"You will be jolted as if hit by a brick when receiving bad news next week, but only partially because it arrives wrapped around a thrown brick."

Originally published March 11, 2016

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Opera Wednesday

Drew here, pinch-hitting this week. It's been awhile, so I might as well do something easy, and what could be easier than going with one of the best? Here's the great Leontyne Price singing "Pace, pace, mio Dio" from Verdi's La Dorza del Destino on a 1967 broadcast of The Bell Telephone Hour. Donald Voorhees is the conductor.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Flashback Friday: Here come da judge

I realize we're constantly being admonished nowadays to be non-judgmental; "who am I to judge?" should strike a familiar tone. But what exactly does that mean, and how does it fit in to our modern culture and lifestyles

You could write a book on that question alone, and probably more than one person has by now, but I'll simply remark that I've always understood the Biblical injunction against judging to be aimed more at one's soul than at their actions. "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get." (Matthew 7:1-2)

In other parts of the Bible, we're told not to worry about what others think of us as long as we act in righteousness for the Kingdom of God.* The suggestion behind it all is that the only opinion that really counts is God's, and He will judge each and every one of us based on what is inside us and how that has manifested itself in our thoughts, words and actions. As humans lack the ability of divination when it comes to reading a man's soul (with the exception of some extraordinary saints), I read this as telling us we should not judge one's character, one's soul, one's state of sin.

*Though we're also reminded not to engage in scandalous behavior which can cast aspersions upon our sincerity, or that of Christians in general. We may see this come into play in the next few paragraphs.

At the same time, however, we're also told to admonish our brothers and sisters who have fallen into sin (first making sure, of course, that we are not guilty of the same thing). For that to happen, it follows that we have some authority to draw conclusions about what a person does, based on that person's external behavior. We don't know for sure whether or not a person is in a state of grace, for example, or if they're possessed by truly evil thoughts and desires, but if they go around acting like a jerk, being impolite, doing nasty things to people, I think we could quite rightly infer from that behavior that this person, regardless of the condition of their soul, has some problems. And if we're that jerk, behaving that way with other people, we should expect that those kinds of conclusions are drawn. If we're a professing Christian, then this becomes cause for scandal, because by our own faults we encourage people to draw such conclusions. Again, being a jerk doesn't mean you're going straight to Hell (do not pass Purgatory, do not collect 500 indulgences). We don't know that.

But when we say someone is loathsome, when we deplore their actions and call into question the sincerity of their expressed values, what we're most often speaking of is this process of making a conclusion based on observed behavior. I think most of us are aware of that, and we aren't literally pronouncing judgment on someone's soul by saying something like that. "I find him grotesque, repulsive, etc." may be an inelegant use of language, it may be intemperate, but most reasonable people know what they mean when they say it, and most reasonable people know (or used to, anyway) what it means when they hear it. It means, "I find this person's actions to be [insert adjective of your choice]."

What I'm getting at with all this is that there's a lot of nasty behavior going on in social media, and in the circles which I frequent much of it is coming from the internecine conflict which our beloved Holy Father seems to have instigated, or at least brought to a head. Austin Ruse wrote about this very well in a recent article with reference to several Catholic bloggers who like to make grand pronouncements about people with whom they disagree. The question arises: how should one behave when finding themselves faced with such a person? Well, perhaps the best thing is not to find yourself in that position in the first place, which is why long ago I deserted the Catholic blogosphere in favor of the much more civilized world of classic television. I still run across these people, though; one can hardly keep up-to-date with current Church events without doing so. The political blogosphere is even worse. And as far as Catholics talking about politics - don't get me started.

It is not an exaggeration for me to say that I do, indeed, find the behavior of such people to be loathsome. In doing so, they transform themselves into loathsome individuals, and to draw such a conclusion based on what they've said is, in many cases, fairly temperate when compared to what these people themselves say and do. But am I judging them? Am I consigning them to the nether regions, where it's very hot even in wintertime? Of course not, and when they use the typical rhetorical tactic of attempting to turn the tables on anyone who disagrees with them by saying, in effect, "So's your old man!" they should be resisted.

What do I mean by that? Well, in fact, there often is no moral equivalence involved; calling someone loathsome is not the same as saying they're going to Hell. These people often are passing judgment on others, accusing them outright of sin, of not being true Catholics or even Christians. If they want to call someone names, then that's their right, and I'm not going to stress over it - except, as I suggested earlier, to advise them to by a thesaurus or something else that can help them expand their vocabulary. Their behavior certainly can be described as scandalous, and to the extent that they provoke intemperate responses in others, they deserve the lion's share of the blame. If one voices a negative opinion of this person's behavior - well, what other conclusion can you draw?

In the end, I don't know if I've accomplished anything with this. I vowed to write a certain number of words at this site this month, and this is part of it. I haven't engaged in any of these verbal fisticuffs, nor do I intend to, but I get highly put out when I read it, and I do think the people who do this are - here's that word again - loathsome. Am I judging them? No, and I'd thank you not to accuse me of that if you're tempted to. Am I drawing conclusions based on what I've seen, heard or read? You bet I have - and as long as such people continue to act that way, I'm going to continue to draw those kinds of conclusions.

For those of you out there who are like these people - don't you have anything better to do? For all that we moan about social justice warriors and how everyone's too sensitive and the world is filled with rage, it really is difficult to drive most people to anger. Mainly, they want to be happy and to be left alone. If these people worked half as hard at doing something good (or at least something benign), they might find their own world to be a much nicer place.

Originally published on August 10, 2016
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