Friday, February 27, 2015

Walker, Wisconsin IdioT

“I want a commander-in-chief who will do everything in their power to ensure that the threat from radical Islamic terrorists do not wash up on American soil. We will have someone who leads and ultimately will send a message not only that we will protect American soil but do not take this upon freedom-loving people anywhere else in the world. We need a leader with that kind of confidence. If I can take on a 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world.” -- Scott Walker, idiot governor and Koch Brothers' toady from Wisconsin

The proof in depth of stupid is when a Texas Republican points out how stupid you are: “These are Americans. You are talking about, in the case of ISIS, people who are beheading individuals and committing heinous crimes, who are the face of evil. To try to make the relationship between them and the unions is inappropriate.”  -- Rick Perry, former governor from Texas

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

the 'J' word

WJW-TV8 runs five and an half hours of a weekday morning 'news' show. It is currently owned by the company that owns the Chicago Tribune, and other properties; and it is a 'Fox' affiliate. As of late it has become softer and fluffier. The personalities of the presenters and readers is emphasised. This week, a contest finding body doubles of some ten or so of the on air personalities has culminated.

[Yesterday, the station's senior weatherman turned eighty-four. They presented him with a life size ice sculpture outside the building. The recently new four o'clock afternoon is anchored by a beyond perky former cheerleader (she may say more syllables per minute than any local teevee person), and a fellow with greased hair that constantly mugs for the camera. The senior station 'anchorman' has been mugger in chief for years...performing as a bigger dolt than the fictional Ted Baxter. Every day the station has moments that would embarrass Sesame Street]

Well, one of the company, used the 'J' word. Yes, we know the term “the 'J' word” has not existed before. Monday she said it, and it went viral throughout social media and internet journalism. The Tribune company has vigorously enforced copyright to remove the video. Tuesday, she apologised. Tuesday she met with black ministers. Wednesday she was suspended for the remainder of the week.

Here is my transcript of the word heard around the English speaking world:
Kristi Capel responds to Wayne Dawson’s summation of the singing tribute to Julie Andrew’s role in the 'Sound of Music' as beautifully sung at the Oscars show the night before. “It was wonderful.”
“It’s very impressive, though isn't it ?”, affirmatively asks Wayne Dawson. 

“It’s hard to really hear her voice [Wayne interjects, 'Lady Gaga'] with all the jig-a-boo [Wayne softly says prematurely, 'Yeah'] music [Wayne has an uncomfortable chuckle], that she duh... whatever you want to call it,” Kristi said, while rotating her hands out to the side like turning propellers, and giggling. “Jigaboo.”

“Yeah she has a nice voice, agrees Wayne.

“She’s a gorgeous voice. I never knew. Very nice. [Wayne nods and smiles] All right, six twenty-two this morning [Wayne looks back at her and smiles as thoughts (and maybe pity) go through his mind]. Lets check in with Patty. Theres some problems upstairs.” 

So now there is a s*#^ storm. Here are some exculpating facts and sense:
  • they were engaging in light chit chat, a constant
  • they were in agreement
  • Wayne Dawson (a black man) knows her well enough
  • Wayne Dawson has come out and supported her
  • they have five and an half hours to fill
  • hard incisive news is not what is expected or delivered
  • it is a 'Fox' affiliate; 'Fox' as programme de rigeur says blatantly and purposely irresponsible things constantly without consequence or apology; this was NOT that
  • the unflattering defense: Kristi Capel had a volleyball scholarship to an Assemblies of God college; she won a Miss Missouri beauty pageant; she was hired for her good looks, and her light and bubbly personality; she came to the station as a traffic reporter
  • very few people Kristi Capel’s age are familiar with the term, and she used it to describe the bizarre style that created Lady Gaga's original prominence which was not displayed in the discussed performance, it appears Kristi was ignorant of it as a race term of disparagement
Now, Kristi is very innocuous (and perhaps genuinely sweet). Up to this point, her career and life looked happy, easy, and smooth. Now this. There are many people now instantly angry. Yet, evil, bloody, murderous Dick Cheney is free to lie, and is not punished for his sadism.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Gambling during Crucifixion

 "No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee..." ― John Donne 1624
stained glass at St. Colman Cleveland
We are "involved in mankind".  We are a community, all the people on earth.  We do not address everything, because there is too much; but on occasion we mention some other matters.

A friend, John, has written the management of the casino in what was Higbee's at the Terminal Tower on Cleveland's Public Square. He requested that certain sensibilities and respect toward people's concerns be shown. What in English is called 'Good' Friday has the most solemn hours of the Christian year, the three hours (noon to three) that Jesus hung on the cross.
railing at Trinity Lutheran Cleveland
The quotation from another John says: "They said then one to another: Let us not cut it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be; that the scripture might be fulfilled, saying: They have parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they have cast lot.  And the soldiers indeed did these things." 

Will they refrain from gambling during that time, and allow all staff the free option of not working those afternoon hours? "Shooting craps" (casting dice) on Good Friday strikes a nerve amongst a segment of the community.

Should not all gambling have a moratorium during these few hours? A once a year break, a few hours of stillness in activity?

There used to be a segment of the working population who would not work these hours. I did not work those hours, some did not like that choice; but i belonged to a union, a brotherhood, and although this was not in the contract, it was understood that yeah...there were guys in the past that would do this. So there was a precedent, and so few fellows exercise it; that to deny it would have been odd.

John wrote to:
Horseshoe Cleveland
Marcus Glover
100 Public Square
Cleveland, Ohio 44113

Monday, February 16, 2015

Art, Blasphemy, Consequences

A Moslem bandit struck in Copenhagen, first at a café Saturday hosting a debate with a cartoonist (Lars Vilks) who had drawn Mahomet a few years ago, and then Sunday morning outside a synagogue. Amongst fanatical avengers in Mohammedanism there lingers death warrants for cartoonists [extra victims at gratis]. A question arises why cartoonists, and not so much other artists? Cartoonists are political. Naked satire is their forté.

Another question is why artistic affronts upon Mohammedanism are revenged by blood to-day, and those against other religions are met only by complaint and boycott? In the United States obscene art meant to attack religion, and provoke Christians in particular, has had a few notable examples in recent years. They provoke notoriety (anger), they surely intended, but not violence (and seldom vandalism). The infraction upon Mohammedan sensibility is very low [any pictorial representation can be deadly (although Persian, and Turkic Mohammedanism does have artistic depictions of Mahomet)], and the penalty enacted can be very high, and has no statute of limitations. In non-Mohammedan countries, Moslems can attack at any time. In Mohammedan countries no one dares to make an affront. False and invented claims of blasphemy bring death to the accused. Arguments to make things relative and equivalent are facile, weak, and often dishonest. The measuring scales are different.

Another sort of provocation was when Avdei Ter-Oganian came to Moscow's Manezh exhibition hall. Performance art is when someone physically engages in an activity in what is proclaimed 'art'.  Just recently i have read about him. "Desecration of Holy Objects" or "Young Atheist" consisted of him using an axe on pictures of icons December 4th 1998. He did not get to finish. Other artists had their performance with him as the subject curtailing Ter-Oganian's show.

Ter-Oganian left Russia to escape the law, which accused him of national and religious hatred. Some people have defended him as an artist victimised. As in much modern art, and post modern art, much of the rationale is invested in explaining the concept, which is not not evident in the 'art' itself.  Ter-Oganian's vision was interrupted and his free speech was not allowed. Ter-Oganian provoked, artistically not so much, politically and culturally greatly. It had been only a short time since atheistic communism had fallen in Russia. Under the Soviet régime real icons, and real people who possessed them were destroyed. Art (sacred art) and human lives were destroyed and martyred. This was done legally by the state in hatred of Christianity and Christians. Many of those who killed, and ordered to kill were Jewish. Their atheism was also hatred of Russians and other Christians. The little i found on Ter-Oganian, does not mention that he is Jewish. His actions in the minds and memories of many rekindled the hated, suffering, painful past. The license he took was beyond decent behaviour. Such iconoclasm is not to be applauded. The only sympathy Ter-Oganian should expect is that granted to the stupid.

'Christian' movies

Y'no, i just read an essay. The fellow made a point, a correct one; but his definition of the chief term was not correct. 'Christian' he used particularly as American Evangelical Protestant, he did not venture into Catholic Christian. He was right that American Evangelical Protestant movies were crummy, and why they are crummy—the importance of their message to be delivered in an imitation of secular art. He did not come quite so far to say these 'Christian artists' were not artists at all, but hacks.

Before in Hollywood, a saying existed "Catholic stories for a Protestant audience made by Jews". There are religious movies, there are good Christian movies; but they are made as movies, made to be entertaining, made to be artful instead of vehicles only used to carry the propaganda. Communists and Fascists made films to carry the message, but there also were people in those systems who created art that if not propaganda, was acceptable under the system. These people who like to identify themselves as 'Christian' and their ersatz, faux art as 'Christian' do not have artistic sensibility or ability. Only the raw message counts, as we see with the Republican party in particular, "must stay on message".

Fr. Andrew Greeley used to to co-teach a college 'Christian' movie course with Albert Bergesen, and they wrote a book on it, God in the Movies (2003). The one movie that all the students easily recognised, and enjoyed was 'Babette's Feast'. Where a French woman, who is now a servant to stern Danish sisters, whose father had led a congregation, wins a lottery and creates a feast for twelve Danes. Some very successful movies like 'Field of Dreams', and 'Star Wars' have religious metaphors that are explored. The religious motifs are organic to the story, they are not there to hijack the story.

In addition there are explicitly Christian themed movies: La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc (1928) one of the last great silent films, and a high achievement in all of cinema. It was a French movie made by a Lutheran Dane, Carl Theodor Dreyer. There are religious, and Christian religious actors, directors, writers working in movies and other arts; they are just not "Christians" using art for message, who without fail disregard art to get the message out. We meet people like this in our lives, where everything is a subterfuge, ruse, and opportunity to proselytise. They lack a certain integrity to be genuine.

After so many years i have finally viewed 'Groundhog Day' (1993) and on that day. The director, Harold Ramis, was from a Jewish family. His second wife was a Buddhist. Bill Murray, who often worked with Ramis, is Catholic. People of these religious traditions see a familiarity and appreciation in this film. Bill Murray plays a television weatherman who relives the same day again, and again, and again. He is sharp enough to figure what is happening, and he becomes a better, and better person through the repeated day. He saves lives, and is loved by the town, and woos his true love, to whom he was blind to before. This metaphor, this story conceit works, and works well, and people understand the metaphor, and like it. It is a successful religious comedy, that is not presented as religious. There is a subtleness, not unlike hearing God's voice in the whisper of the wind [Elias (Elijah)].

Paulist Pictures' Father Ellwood "Bud" Kieser made two Catholic movies:  Romero (1989) and Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story (1996).  The Way (2010) was directed by Emilio Estevez, and starring Martin Sheen. It is a story of pilgrimage through northern Spain. These are dramatic art on Christian themes, the first two are biographical.  There is religious cinema that appeals to a wider audience, and is well done; but hard line doctrinaire religionists are not much interested, because they are not interested in art. They are interested in using art.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Trinity organs

Trinity Lutheran
Cleveland has some good stuff. Part of the reason is that in the past, it was relatively much higher in national rank of population (one time #5). In that population it was not ethnically homogenous. There was cultural diversity, and some academic institutions of note. I have not explored enough to give you a full accounting. Cleveland has an Institute of Music in University Circle, and suburban Baldwin Wallace [now University], and a few miles way, Oberlin College have music conservatories. At one time Standard Oil had a passel of millionaires, they and others on occasion funded these institutions.

Big organs of great quality are somewhat few. One place where they are found is in churches. Cleveland has two churches that have music concerts in the noon hour on Wednesdays, both named Trinity. Trinity Lutheran is on the near west side, and has one from Hamburg (Beckerath 1956) which they are quite proud of. They have two resident organists. They and guests perform every Wednesday, and have for over twenty years. The Anglicans have their cathedral in downtown Cleveland, and their concerts are various, but not each week. Looking at their present four month schedule, only two look to be organ alone. They have a beautiful Dutch organ (Flentrop 1977) from Zaandam that resounds wonderfully in the naked stone of the cathedral. Their millionaire of iron ore and lake freighters assembled pieces from the world to build an ecclesial museum. The organ came after him. It is gorgeous and it complements the whole.

Trinity Anglican
 Saint Catharine Catholic. September 23, 2011.
We have abandoned churches where the organ is left for demolition. Part of a rank of the longest diapason flue pipes are making a final descent; from the left, water flows from a hose to keep the dust down.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


An aging rock band from Kent and Akron Ohio is Devo. The name refers to the devolution of mankind, which has stopped progressing and has begun regressing. One example par excellence is the Republican Party.

I have repeatedly brought the facts of history in this regard, and no one has ever agreed with me in conversation or writing. In 1964 Barry Goldwater acknowledged and was proud that he was an extremist, only the Klan and the Birchers were beyond him. Goldwater won his party's nomination, and had a spectacular loss to Lyndon Johnson. If Johnson had not so obviously supported negro civil rights, Goldwater would have had zero electoral votes. The congressional votes, also, went heavily Democratic. Ronald Reagan was a supporter of Goldwater, and he became that portion of his party's leader. He was president from 1981-89, and his popular success has made him a demigod for his party.

The Republican Party has only hard conservatives, and ultraconservatives. Anyone suggesting the existence of 'moderates' in that party is deluded, or lying. Even beyond, it is a question of competence and sanity.

If Goldwater was a senator to-day, he would be the most liberal Republican in the Senate and probably all of Congress. In 1964 he was considered 'nuts' by a large majority of the country. Even Ronnie Reagan, if he held the views he held then, would have a difficult time being elected Republican anything.
Here is the devolution: look at the collection of idiots the Republicans have in Congress, statehouses, and elsewhere. The newly elected senator from North Carolina, Thom Tillis:
“I don’t have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy as long as they post a sign that says, ‘We don’t require our employees to wash their hands after they use the restroom’... The market will take care of that.”
From to-day's Eric Sevareid, Jon Stewart:
“You do realize that’s a regulation, too, right? That’s not getting rid of regulation. That just makes you an inconsistent ideologue with a light fecal dusting in your latte.”
Republicans are not often right. Bobby Jindal, who does say stupid things, did recognise that his party is "the stupid party".

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Black History Month

Black History Month is recognised in the US and Canada in February. In 1926 historian Carter G. Woodson called the second week of February to be 'Negro History Week'. Abraham Lincoln's birthday is the 12th, and Frederick Douglas' is the 14th. Kent State University began to take the entire month in 1970. 

Jackie Robinson broke the color line in baseball on April 15, 1947. He suffered much verbal, and even physical abuse that season. He died in 1972. Fifty years after that first Brooklyn Dodgers game all the teams in Major League Baseball retired his uniform number '42'.

Barack Obama is the Jackie Robinson of his generation, and will be so fêted in years to come.