Thursday, March 31, 2005
We were aware of her.
Do we value a life solely based upon personal perspective. Would Ms. Schiavo really want her life to end if she knew how much she affected others lives?
I am aware of Terri Schiavo. I am a better person because of it. She profoundly affected my life. It ws good that she lived. It was wrong that she was starved to death.
Rest in peace, Terri. God bless your soul.
Michelle Malkin has the perfect hymn and a round-up of reactions.
Over the past two very strange weeks we have all been part of what is usually a very private circumstance. You would think that when a loved one is dying you would want as many people around you as possible to help you through it, but I doubt that the multitudes have comforted the Schindlers, only amplified the grief.
I am surprised at how sad I am. I knew this would happen, and soon. It shouldn't be an emotional moment, but it is. I think it's because we have all placed ourselves in the Schiavos' and Schindlers' shoes and asked ourselves "What would we do?". More than anything, I have placed myself in the shoes of Terri's father. My overwhelming feeling is frustration and anger. I would never want this to happen to my daughter. Never.
The other day on his television show, Chris Matthews said that Terri Schiavo had "no awareness". I'm not sure how he knew this, and he may be right. But, even if she was not aware of us, we were all aware of her. Isn't that enough reason to stay alive?
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Have the Yankees been on the wrong end of a transaction over the last decade?? have they? Can you remember any trade or any trasaction that they have made that you can look back on and say "Boy, did the Yankees blow THAT one!"?
Oh, OK, maybe everything having to do with Jeff Weaver. But other than that one...
I was always annoyed that the stunning 1994 Republican victories in the House and Senate were written off as the vote of the "Angry White male". I had hoped that after 11 years of electoral superiority this canard would go the way of my favorite Peking variety. Apparently not.
This morning, Laura Ingraham (ah... Laura), had clips from an interview with Jon Klein, President of CNN, on the Charle Rose show. Laura was so impressed with the interview that Mr. Klein made her infamous Lie of the day. Mr. Klein wrote off the success of Fox News as nothing more than a commercial, cynical appeal to the "Angry White male". Well.
A quick look at the TRUTH:
Media Bistro offers the 1st Quarter ratings for 2005:
FNC: 1,144,000 / 1,491,000 / +30%
CNN: 760,000 / 720,000 / -5%
HLN: 196,000 / 181,000 / -8%
MSNBC: 374,000 / 318,000 / -15%
CNBC: 190,000 / 91,000 / -52%
They also note that the largest increase in viewers from last year to this year was for Greta Van Susteren, a left-of-center host. Also, Ms. Susteren used to have a show on CNN before coming to Fox News, home of the "Angry White Male".
Now, is it possible that Fox News has more viewers than CNN and MSNBC COMBINED solely because of "Angry White Males"? Is it possible that Fox grew 30% in viewrship and CNN fell 5% over the last year only because multitudes of "Angry White Males" are watching Fox news rather than Pro Wrestling?
All I know is that in marketing a product (and from Mr. Klein's and his board of director's point of view, CNN is a product badly in need of marketing) the first rule is "It is better to be first than to be better". This was the rule that kept CNN in the lead for twenty years. The second rule of marketing is "If you can't be first in a category, set up a new category to be first in". This is how Fox News has carved out its niche. I don't even view Fox in the same category as CNN.
Another rule of marketing: "The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect's mind". Fox won the cable news battle the minute it came out with "Fair and Balanced" as their motto. They own it now. And no matter where you come from politically, "Fair and Balanced" is what you crave from your news, and it was sorely lacking for two decades at CNN. Just read any interview with Ted Turner and you'll see his agenda and the agenda he tried to promilgate with his network.
Until CNN stops catering to the International Market and focuses on the US market, they will always be perceived as stuffy, elitest, boring and blinded by a hidden agenda that is about as hidden as an elephant on a golf course.
One other marketing rule: Marketing is not a battle of products, it is a battle of perceptions. How is CNN perceived? Is it "Must see TV"? No. It's boring, stuffy, dispasionate TV. No one watches Larry King because they're dying to see what he'll say tonight. but folks tune into O'Reilly because he seems geuine, passionate and you never know what's going to come out of his mouth.
As long as Mr. Klein continues to rationalize his networks' failiures in the same manner as the Democratic party has, CNN will enjoy their same level of success. The best way to change some one else and to change the situation you are in, is to start by changing yourself.
Here's a thought: If CNN wants to get back the viewers Fox has, don't start by calling them names!
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Too little, too late?
My Way News: "'She is being starved to death, she is being dehydrated to death. That's immoral and unnecessary,' the civil rights leader told reporters after meeting Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, near the hospice where she is being cared for."
I am thankful for anyone's efforts for the cause of Mrs. Schiavo and I have no doubt that Rev. Jackson's advocacy may actually make a difference for some of the politicians standing in the way of effective intervention.
But, I have to ask: Where were you for the past two weeks? Why now, after ten days of starvation?
- Was your internet connection down?
- Cable go out?
- Let your subscription to the paper lapse?
I hate to be cynical in light of Mrs. Schiavo's imminent demise, but this reeks of self-promotion and opportunism. He will get credit for being on the moral side of the argument, but will get no flack from the left-of-center forces working for Mrs. Schiavo's "right-to-die" since he did not intervene when it would have made a significant difference.
Please, tell me I'm wrong. I really do want to think the best of people, but this just seems odd.
Friday, March 25, 2005
Dear Mr. Schiavo,
I can imagine these being very difficult times for you as your character is being questioned in so many public arenas. Some people have suggested that you are a cad looking to extricate yourself from a miserable situation so you can finally marry the woman you have started a family with. Some have suggested you are looking to cash-in on the money that was meant for your wife's long term care and re-habilitation. Some have even suggested that you had some hand in Mrs. Schiavo's original injury and would prefer that she go away forever lest she recover and implicate you in some way.
I will not support any of these positions or expound upon the speculation. Nor will I offer any insight as a legal, constitutional, political or medical expert. I am none of these. I am a husband. And I am a father of two little girls. Little girls who will grow up and be the wife of another man some day. I am also a son-in-law. The man who married the daughter of a man, her father. Each of these perspectives force me to finally write this.
Mr. Schiavo: Don't do this. You have won the fight, but you do not have to let Terri die. it is clear now that you hold this power in your hands. You must look within and see that there is no better option for you, your family, for our society than for you to keep Terri alive.
I understand that your position is that you are honoring Terri's wishes. My understanding is that after viewing a news program regarding patients on life-support systems, she remarked to you that she would not like to be kept alive in such a way. this was an intimate, private conversation between a husband and wife. These conversations happen all of the time and they are not unimportant. Our legal system has acknowledged and honored this conversation. As much as some may disagree with this decision, it doesn't matter anymore.
But there are other private conversations that happen that deserve just as much honor. You see, long before she was your wife, or even your girlfriend, she was Mr. Schindler's daughter. There was a time when Terri may have been frightened by a dream, or a shadow, or another person. And Mr. Schindler comforted her and promised her to protect her and not let anything happen to her. We must honor this conversation, too.
Perhaps when he was about to walk Terri down the aisle to hand her over to you as your wife, Mr. Schindler looked at his daughter for a moment. Leaned in and reminded her that he loved her and that he would always be her Dad, no matter what happens. And that she should always come to him for help no matter how difficult her situation may be. This conversation must be honored, too.
Mr. Schiavo, please, think about this. When Terri said to you that she would not want to live by artificial means, what if you had said to her: "If you were not comatose, not on a respirator, only needed a feeding tube to stay alive, did not have any cognitive ability but your mere presence, the look in your eyes, that fact that you were still alive, even in this state brought unending joy to the lives of your mother and father, and they would be anguished and inconsolable if you were to be allowed to die, then what would you want?"
What would she want, Mr. Schiavo? Did you really marry a woman that would want her parents to be destroyed in this way? Is Terri really so selfish as to take away what ever joy she is currently giving her parents merely because she had a passing thought when watching a TV news show? I can't believe it.
Think about it, Mr. Schiavo. Please do not do this. As much as we must honor your position as the husband of this woman, we must also honor the mother and father of this woman. Let them be happy and let Terri live.
Ann Coulter, biting but correct as usual
Peggy Noonan, brilliant, simply brilliant.
Michelle Malkin, too. Are you noticing women have the best insights on this issue?
Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit for the Political angle
Motive and Money questions at American Digest
Captain's Quarters with more legal insights.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
"It turns out that, far from 'de-escalating force' through their superior listening skills, female law enforcement officers vastly are more likely to shoot civilians than their male counterparts. (Especially when perps won't reveal where they bought a particularly darling pair of shoes.) "
This little gem is thrown into a rather thoughtful and compelling piece about the inherent danger of putting female police officers in situations where they are guarding 6 foot plus violent felons. It's a great article and must be read... but yet again, Ann crosses the line by demeaning women on the police force with this gratuitous line.
Love the column though!
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Monday, March 14, 2005
This is what Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer wrote today while striking down California's Proposition 22 that was passed five years ago with 61% of the State's vote.
Please take note that Judge Kramer was "elected" to the Superior Court in March, 2004. I use quotes around elected because Mr. Kramer ran un-opposed and, therefore, the election was not even held. He got his robe by default. With that kind of pool of candidates to choose from, I guess we get what we deserve.
Look at the photo above. There will be plenty of time in the coming months to debate the cause and to truly explain the significance of the Bush Administrations Middle East Democracy policies. Right now look at what is happening and understand that our world will never be the same.
Do you see the joy in this photo? Do you see the massive number of people? Do you see women and men side-by-side as equals demanding a better life? This is the picture of hope. This is the picture of life. This is what all humans, created in God's image, yearn for. Never again should we be lured by intellectual midgets pontificating about how some people are not ready for democracy, not ready for freedom.
Let no man be another man's slave. Free Beirut!
Great photos at Terrorism Unveiled
Michelle Malkin thinks she spotted a star in the crowd!
...Or Does it Explode? has a great point on the Hezbollah demonstrations last week.
"She did suggest that she appeal to the Italian people to demonstrate in favour of a withdrawal of the country’s 3,000 troops. But when the guards filmed her, they told her the film wasn’t dramatic enough. She was a hostage, they insisted, she must be more convincing and ordered her to make a direct appeal to her boyfriend of 25 years, Pier Scolari. For the first time, Sgrena broke down in tears.
“Usually I cry over even the tiniest things, but until then I hadn’t cried. I realised I could talk directly to Pier, and I became emotional. I knew that he would never give up,” she says."
Now this is quite a scene isn't it? The "hostage" suggests what the demands for her release should be. When the film of her appeal is made, she is not emotional enough, so the captors employ Lee Strassberg-like methods to get the performance they're looking for.
By the way, the Google search on "Sgrena, kidnap hoax" is now up to 155 hits.
From Captains' Quarters:
In fact, it appears more and more that the kidnaping may not have been all that random, and the tearful pleas for her life -- which even Sgrena now says she exaggerated -- designed to extract the maximum cash for the factions she supports. Nicola Calipari may have died to free a woman who never was in danger in the first place.
The Tawana Brawley comparison is looking more and more likely.
Now that a clear picture of the events surrounding Brian Nichols' murderous rampage through Atlanta and the US Judicial Branch is forming, it's time to ask why this blood-thirsty thug should not get the death penalty.
Inevitably there will be the standard chorus of anti-capital punishment protestations but one very important and compelling argument cannot be made: "What if we kill an innocent man?"
This, by far, is the most persuasive argument against capital punishment. It would indeed be a tragedy if the state would erroneously execute an innocent man despite years of appeal and public/judicial review. When debating the merits of capital punishment, proponents are often challenged to find an equally persuasive argument in the face of this scenario.
However, now the challenge must be made to those death penalty opponents who use this argument as their last weapon to fight the capital punishment law. In this case, there is absolutely no doubt of Nichols' guilt. There are many eye witnesses. I understand there is even a video. There is even a persuasive argument, given the nature and circumstances of the crime, that imprisonment holds no assurance that this thug will not kill again. After all, he perpetrated these crimes in the middle of a court room while under armed custody. How can anyone be sure he will not kill one of his prison guards? Well, there is one way to be sure.
Friday, March 11, 2005
When Ten Commandments closed, our girls - Quinn and Veronica - couldn't understand why they couldn't keep going up to the Kodak every Saturday to watch "The Moses Show". To direct their attention elsewhere, we started watching the DVD of Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with Donny Osmond.
Around the same time, Sabrina really got concerned about the household products we were using and the fact that she didn't want the baby around when we were cleaning, but obviously wanted the house disinfected and germ free during this crazy cold & flu season.
We happened upon an economical and ecologically responsible line of cleaning and nutritional products from Australia called Melaleuca. As it turns out, for only $29 we were able to become Preferred Customers AND Donny Osmond is one of our sponsors! (See how this comes full circle?) Sabrina just loves having conference calls with him.
It turns out that Donny has been swearing by these products for 18 years and has converted his whole household. He was able to stay healthy on a tour when everyone else got sick and he looks amazing. I can't believe he's 10 years older than us!
We'd be thrilled if you wanted to join Donny and us as Preferred Customers and try these products for 30% off. Of course, you can also get them at full price, if you prefer. It is only $29 to become a Preferred Customer and get the products at wholesale. This is less than a Costco membership and you don't have to stand in lines.
Check out the products at www.melaleuca.com and e-mail me if you have any questions or thoughts.
Why not see if you could be buying comparable products at a great value and have them delivered to your home?
Sabrina is very excited that the kids can be around while we're cleaning without fume fears and that she is on her way back to her pre-pregnancy fitness level.
The noise continues.
There seem to be two camps out there on the trail of the fishy circumstances sorrounding "L'Affair Sgrena".
- Those finding the obvious holes in the stories regarding the shooting at the coalition checkpoint resulting in the tragic death of Nicola Calipari.
- Those looking back at the entire kidnapping episode and questioning the truth of the circumstaces from day one.
As relayed in my previous post on this subject, The Jawa Report has been the first on record challenging some of the apparantly bogus aspects of her abduction. And Michelle Malkin has diligently stayed on top of the blogs and the MSM takes on this.
When performing a "Google" search on "Giuliana Sgrena, kidnap, hoax" you now will get over 70 hits versus just five hits two days ago.
Here is just a partial list of Blogs that are either poking holes in her shooting story or finding unanswered questions in her entire story.
The Jawa Report
Little Green Footballs
GOP and the City
Cranky Neocon (Borrowing a little from OC Chronicle's Broadway style)
Right Wing Nuthouse
So can you sense things building? Was the Tawana Brawley reference premature?
Time will tell. I think, perhaps, those hostage videos taken of Signiora Sgrena should be scrutinized a bit.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
I've decided to institute a weekly feature called "Coulter Crosses the Line".
It's my belief that Ann Coulter is one of the most enteraining coloumnist/talkshow guests out there. Even though you probably don't admit it in mixed company, you read her. She's a guilty pleasure.
It's not that there is any shame in reading her, it's just that every week, in every column, no matter how smart and reasoned and exactly dead-on perfect her point of view is, she always, and I mean ALWAYS throws a barb in that is absolutely over the line. It is this weekly inclusion that keeps me from forwarding her articles to most of my friends.
Again, let me re-iterate, I love reading her column, I just hardly ever share her article because of her weekly penchant for crossing the line!
So without further adieu, here is this week's edition of: Coulter Crosses the Line
" Howard Dean — chairman of the party that supports murder, adultery, lying about adultery, coveting other people's money, stealing other people's money, mass-producing human embryos for spare parts like an automotive chop shop and banning God — has called the Republican Party "evil." One Democrat in the audience, a preschool teacher no less, complained that Dean was soft-pedaling his message. "
You see the dilema. The bulk of her article is funny, intelligent, spot-on. But then she goes and describes the Democratic Party as "party that supports murder, adultery, lying about adultery, coveting other people's money, stealing other people's money, mass-producing human embryos for spare parts like an automotive chop shop and banning God". I understand the point she was making, but come on Ann! You're killing me here.
Love the column though. Never miss it.
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Thanks Brothers and stay warm up there in Minny-so-cold!
Related link: (Sort of, at least I think it's related.)
NOT related, but you gotta read this!
I'm sensing something smoldering out in the blogosphere about this Guiliana Sgrena incident. For the basic facts of the case read this.
After reading some details of conflicts in the story on Austin Bay's blog, as well as some fishy foreshadowing fleshed out on LGF, I'm starting to sense a pattern.
I would not be surprised if it turns out this whole kidnapping was faked. Some things just don't sound kosher...
This terrorist group had never been heard of before, and their first action is something this high-profile, this bold, and this successful?
The name of the terrorist group: "Mujahadien Without Borders". Doesn't that sound a lot like "Doctors Without Borders"? And doesn't it sound a little too Euro? A little too touchy-feely to be a name of a terrorist group?
All of the holes in the story about the "barrage" of bullets yet there is relatively little damage to the automobile?
I trust there are plenty more sophisticated bloggers out there that could really expose this one. I hope they do. The whole thing just doesn't sound right... it's too convenient and too coincidental that this whole episode in this person's life fits perfectly with her view of the war, of coalition forces, and is beginning to turn Italian public opinion even further against Berlosconi's support of the US, which is exactly what her newspaper and Berlosconi's political op[onents have been aiming for.
Something's fishy in Italy.
After doing a google search on "Guiliana Sgrena, kidnap, hoax" I only found five references. However The Jawa Report seems to have been in front on this idea with posts going back to mid-February. I think we might be onto something here...
Check out some of Jawa Report's questions about this:
- Doesn't this whole incident seem more than a little odd?
- Sgena was kidnapped by her admitted friends in Iraq.
- She was kidnapped while on the phone with another journalist.
- A tape was released of her begging Italy to cave to the terrorists demands of pulling Italian troops out of Iraq the day before the Italian Senate was to vote on that very issue.
- On the tape Sgrena appears to tell the 'terrorist' holding the camera to stop. He follows her order as if she is directing.
- The tape came exactly two-weeks after she was captured.
- One month to the day after her abduction she is released.
- On the day of her release her car speeds toward a US checkpoint, fails to stop when ordered, fails to heed warning shots, and the car is ultimately fired upon.
In the end, who looks like the bad guys? The terrorists? The jihadis? The 'insurgents'? No, the US.
Read the whole blog and you'll see there are a lot of questions on this going all the way back to the abduction itself, not just the shooting.
The great Michelle Malkin is on this too. This means there's GOT to be something to this.
I know you've been waiting and re-checking all day to see the photo of Christian's spit-up that looked like Italy that I posted about this morning... well, here it is!
What an amazing kid, huh? With talent like this, I'll be able to live a grand life in my old age as my boy takes care of me!
Come on... this is freaky! I'm sitting there reading a story about Italy, I'm burping the baby, he regurgitates all over my shirt and it makes the pattern of Italy! cue the Twilight Zone music!
You have to imagine Paul Gigot smirking to himself as he types this on his keyboard:
"Of course, it would not do if Mr. Bolton's nomination wasn't greeted by the usual bellyaching of our supposed multilateralists. Sure enough, John Kerry obliged, calling the appointment "baggage we cannot afford" and reminding us why Americans prefer to call him Senator."
OUCH! Nice slam.
Seriously, when can we expect Senator Kerry's opinions on any subject other than "How to get around campaign finance laws and a pre-nup all at the same time" to be written off for what they are: Sour Grapes from a losing has-been?
While I was reading Austin Bay (a really cool blog) Christian made a spit up on my shirt in the pattern of ITALY!!! Coincidence? I think not!
I'm having trouble with my "Hello" software so you will all have to wait for the photo of this monumental event.
UPDATE! Here is the picture!!!!
Monday, March 07, 2005
My favorite analysis of this e-mail exchange is located at PoliticalFan .
Personally, I love her opening remarks to Hugh:
"Hello. I still need to get permission from my keepers to appear on the program, but I suspect it will not be forthcoming."Handlers? Permission? Not forthcoming?What is going on here?
Allwe hear is how journalists are keepers of a public trust. They are doingthe greatest public service by "speaking truth to power". They demand accountabilityfrom all they eviscerate and judge. Yet this reporter, with the power ofThe Tribune Company behind her, writing for a monopoly publication in thesecond largest market in the country has "handlers" that withhold "permission"to appear on a radio show to discuss her latest front-page article?
What kind of smug arrogance is at work here?
Rememberall of the dire warnings about blogs and websites growing as a source ofnews and information? "Where are the editors?" "These people are not professionaljournalists." "Where is the accountability?" "People can just throw anythingout into cyber-space and people may believe it!"
· Here we have a "professional journalist".
· She doesn't just "throw anything out into cyber-space", she gets it on the front page of the LA Times.
· When asked to be "accountable" and have a public conversation about her article, her "editors" don't allow her to speak.
Do you hear the walls of the old media monopoly crumbling?
We must conclude one of two reasons for Ms. Demick's non-appearance on the Hugh Hewitt show:
1.Her handlers do not want her to further exacerbate this embarrassing problemand they are hoping that by avoiding talking about it that maybe it willgo away (fat chance).
2. They feel that they have no obligationto answer for their actions or explain their motives behind this piece andwill sit high in their tower on First Street waiting for their next Pulitzerto come in.
Whichever the reason, it's clear that the dinosaurs atthe Times are absolutely clueless about the new media and how these thingscan begin to snowball.
The link he featured is for the search I have initiated for the Summer Touring show for Hugh and the gang. Suggestions are beginning to come in and I'll post them as I receive them.
I'd love to get some logos submitted too, like:
However, I remember in the 2000 election as things were coming down to the wire, I got an e-mail from a friend with "quotes" from George W. Bush's past. As you can imagine, they were all set up to make him look like the enormous imbecile that Republicans are always assumed to be (unless their Richard Nixon, in his case he was brilliant but EVIL!, now that I think of it, W is portrayed as both dumb AND evil... can he be both?, wow, this is the longest parenthetical statement EVER!) At the end of the e-mail my friend wrote: Please people, we can't let a moron like this be our president, I urge you to vote and tell your friends to vote for Gore, for the sake of our country and our reputation in the world.
Something about these quotes sounded familiar to me. I remember back in the 1992 campaign, I received a xerox sheet of paper (this was before e-mail) from one of my employees with a list of quotes from Dan Quayle. Many of the quotes were the same. - By the way, is it just because I'm in Southern California that I keep getting all of these unsolicited documents about the evilness and stupidity of Republicans?, or is it because I'm in the entertainment business? or is it because lefties are more inclined to unleash propagandist, ad homenim, vitriol to their friends putting them on the spot and forcing them to either feign an association with their views, or risk a confrontation over ideological grounds that are not supposed to be polite in social settings?.
Anyway, to make a short story even longer, I e-mailed back to her a link showing these Dan Quayle "quotes" and told her that she should really investigate the source of things before she start spreading it around to so many people, she could lose her credibility. It's not like she worked for CBS News. In this case, she was actually angry at me! We did not share a good laugh, in fact, it kind of affected our relationship.
But, I WAS RIGHT!!!
Here is proof of my point.
This is a page devoted to "Quotes" from Dan Quayle.
This is a page devoted to "Quotes" from George W. Bush.
Notice something? Now it took me all of 30 seconds to perform this search, don't you think someone should at least do this before getting their hate-politics in my in-box?
Popular Mechanics has a brilliant article debunking ALL of the popular myths that are floated out there.
PM: Debunking The 9/11 Myths - Mar. 2005 Cover Story
Of course, this won't keep Oliver Stone from raising the $150 million dollars for a film on his version of events. I mean, after a brilliant turn like Alexander... I'm sure he's got people hired just to turn down all of the financing offers he must be getting!
Sunday, March 06, 2005
Lea Salonga in Concert.
Sabrina and I were lucky enough to get out tonight to see the wonderful Lea Salonga in concert at the Universal Amphitheatre. Of course, we brought Christian because, well, he goes where the food goes!
What a phenomenal musical instrument this woman possesses in her throat! It is so pleasant to hear her smooth, seemingly effortless rendition of some of the best songs ever written. The song selection was perfectly suited for the audience, Sabrina remarked on the way home: "It was so wonderful, she sang all of my favorite songs!".
A highlight was her beautiful and controlled performance of Someone to Watch Over Me in a hypnotic arrangement by Lea's brother, Gerard. It was exquisite: Lea, a guitar, and Gershwin. Who could ask for anything more? (sorry about that)
The first act selections were mostly classic standards including a complex and jazzy arrangement of New York State of Mind as well as an extended (and until now unheard) version of Reflection the haunting ballad from Disney's Mulan which Lea leant her voice to.
Lea saved her most stirring Broadway numbers for the second act. She began the "Broadway Section" with On My Own from Les Miserables. I was fortunate enough to see Frances Ruffelle, the Tony Award winning actress who originated the role of Eponine in London and New York. It is very rare that a legendary performance like hers could ever be challenged, but I think that no one can sing this song like Lea. I so regret that I was unable to see her step into the role for a stint in the mid '90s. Luckily, you can see her on Les Miserables, The Dream Cast in Concert DVD. Quite a performance.
After some very funny anecdotes about her struggles with the racy love scenes in Miss Saigon (after all she was only 17 when she got that role) she sang Too Much for One Heart a beautiful and soaring ballad originally written for the show but cut during rehearsals. After hearing it, it's hard to know why it was cut as it has some very powerful lyrics. It further develops Kim's character and her love for Chris, as well as reveals that Kim has discovered she is pregnant with Chris' son thus making their tragic scene at the helicopter pad at the US Embassy even more compelling.
Lea, thank you for such a wonderful concert. It was a special night our for us and the thousands of other people at Universal.
One final note about a personal favorite moment... When telling an anecdote about how children react to her when they realize she is the voice of Jasmine, a real live Disney Princess, Lea told the audience that she had a couple of God Daughters here in Southern California that were "over" the whole idea of her doing Jasmine and Mulan's singing in the Disney Movies. "Oh yeah, that's Auntie Lea singing, ho hum!" Lea said from the stage. Well, Lea, I can tell you that is NOT true... they are very proud that they get to see you in person and they talk about you often when we watch the movies. Baby LaLa even dresses like her Godmother did in the film:
Veronica as Mulan
Saturday, March 05, 2005
Hugh Hewitt (center) mentioned on his show yesterday that he and his team should begin a National Tour of a Broadway musical. Now, given my professional background, I took this as a personal challenge. I will find the right vehicle and assemble a first class touring production booked entirely in Red State Venues. I'm going to need some help, though. I'm not sure what show would work best. One sees this picture and is tempted to go for the easy laugh with La Cage aux Folles, but I'm afraid French titles won't appeal to our target audience. Please e-mail me (and Hugh) your Broadway Musical suggestions along with the cast list.
Update... March 7, 2005. 8:01 PM
Now, one is tempted to think that this is merely a clever way of wishing Lefty-Larson a happy birthday, but Minnesota is a wacky place... stranger things have happened.
If Larson were to actually run and somehow win the race (Alan Keyes has been eyeing a change of venue), this could actually be bad news for Californians. As ineffectual as our two Senators have been over the last decade (who would have thought that whole "Year of the Woman" campaign wouldn't translate into substance once they got to Washington?) at least we Golden Staters could hang our hat on ONE claim to fame: Barbara Boxer is, without question, the dumbest person in the senate.
Let's hope that Larson doesn't jeopardize this last bit of prominence Californians retain.
OC is so proud of our Senator.
Friday, March 04, 2005
Thursday, March 03, 2005
Broadway.com (theatrical press release on-line clearinghouse) is reporting that the next big musical destined for the Great White Way will be Jersey Boys, featuring the song catalog of The Four Seasons.
I enjoyed Mama Mia!.
I hear All Shook Up is enjoyable.
I understand We Will Rock You is a nice diversion from the craps table.
I liked the number from Good Vibrations on the Macy's Thanksgiving parade.
But now this is getting ridiculous. I don't mean to sound like the old fogies that always use to decry the big, British musicals and yearn for the days when a couple of snappy-peppy Jerry Herman tunes wrapped around a plot as thin as Kate Moss could run on Broadway for three years, but COME ON! Can't anyone write an ORIGINAL musical anymore?
I think the genesis of this phenomenon was George M! back in the late 60's. It was a musical based ont he life of George M. Cohan using his catalog of songs as the score. It was cute, it was original, it worked. But this latest trend is incredibly disturbing.
I was taught that the modern musical was born in 1947 when the curtain rose on a corn field and the lone voice of a cowby could be heard from the wings singing "There's a bright golden haze on the meadow.." Oklahoma! was the first Broadway musical to use the music, lyrics and dance to advance the story and character development of the play.
Until that time, a "musical play" would consist of scenes broken up by songs. Take away the songs and the story would make perfect sense. The revolutionary aspect of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals was that no longer could you take a hodge podge of songs and put them on stage with a cute little story and have it all make sense. Take away "Soliloquy" from Carousel and the show means nothing. Remove "You've Got to be Carefully Taught" from South Pacific and there is no message.
The modern musical, as an art form, requires the complete integration of music, lyric, dance, scenery, lighting, direction and sound design. It is and always will be the most collaborative art form in Western Culture.
But now, to be a successful Broadway show, it seems you need to negotiate a great royalty deal with a catalog owner and stitch together a plot around music that was never written to advance the story it is now planted in.
I can't wait for the moment when the Frankie Valli breaks up with his girlfriend... she starts to weep... the music starts... and Frankie sings "Big Girls Don't Cry".
Now THAT'S theatre.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
As an Angels fan I go back to 1979 when, as a 12-year-old visitor from Detroit I got to witness part of the "Yes We Can!" frenzy at Anaheim Stadium. As all Angels fans know, the last couple of decades have had their ups and downs but since the 2002 World Series triumph, there has been no better place to watch a game than at the corner of State College and Katella.
After Arte Moreno took over the franchise in 2003, the consensus of most fans I know has been that he is a God-send. A true "Fans Owner". His first official act as new owner was to lower the price of beer! This guy is no fool. Last year he aquired the leagues' top player, he proved he would open his wallet to put the best possible product on the field. What more could any fan want?
So now a kerfuffle has erupted over his move to change the name of the team from Anaheim Angels to The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. For an in-depth explanation of the legal problems he faced with this move, click here. I'm more annoyed at the reaction of fans complaining about the name. It's ridiculous.
To anyone in Orange County, this team has always been the California Angels, their moniker for three decades. Just like the stadium has always been The Big A. No one ever really called it Edison Field just because Disney sold the naming rights.
If Moreno says he needs to call this team 'Los Angeles' to help him market the team, thus allowing more revenue for players like Guerrero, then fine. He's earned the benefit of the doubt. True fans just call them the Angels or the Halos anyway, what does it matter to us?
What's most infuriating to me about this type of journalism is contained in the "official's" unchallenged opening statement:
"There's never been a positive article about North Korea, not one," he said.No... they aren't!!! The North Korean people are portrayed as deserving of our sympathy and help. They are portrayed as victims of a brutal system and an evil, self-appointed "leader". North Korea has a disgusting and monstrous GOVERNMENT.
"We're portrayed as monsters, inhuman, Dracula's with horns on our heads."
Does the Times do anything to challenge this statement? Of course not. It is part of their paradigm that Americans are unenlightened, xenophobic, McCarthyite purveyors of hate-speech. This sets up the entire raison d'etre for this despicable piece of propaganda.
And to what end? Does the Times seek to change the hearts and minds of its readers by allowing this morally relativistic puff piece? What do they think this will accomplish? Will the American public demand a re-designation of North Korea from the Axis of Evil to Most Favored Nations' status? Or is this what they're really hoping for?
Doesn't Los Angeles deserve something better than this?
What an amazing performer this man is! I can't wait to see him. The Beaumont is a nice sized (1,100 seats) theatre with a thrust/amphitheare type layout. This makes each seat no more than about 13 rows from the stage. this should be the perfect setting to see such a dynamic singer.
If you're in New York on a Monday and you're afraid you won't be able to see anything good since most shows take Monday Night off, head up to 66th Street and catch this show!
What are they thinking??
The Supreme Court decision from yesterday regarding the death penalty for juvenile offenders is perplexing to say the least. Charles Krauthammer on Fox News yesterday had the most obvious point. (paraphrasing)
"Since only 6 nations allow for abortion on demand regardless of the term of the pregnancy, should we not ban third trimester abortions If international law is to be the standard by which we deem a law to be constitutional?"I absolutely agree with the opinions of much smarter people than I that the SCOTUS constitutional role is not to measure national consensus, rather it is to provide judgements as to whether any given piece of legislation is consistent with the provisions of the United States Constitution. Though the language of the 8th amendment does leave a certain level of ambiguity. If the SCOTUS is required to interpret the constitution, then it is their job to determine whether a punishment legislated by congress or state legislature is "cruel and unusual". Since the founders did not deliberately define what punishments were cruel or unusual, is it not implied that this would be a changing standard based upon the acceptable conditions of any time?
My greater concern with this decision has to do with the arbitrary nature of the age of the criminal in question. In short: If it is cruel and unusual to sentence a 17 year old to death, why is it not cruel and unusual to sentence a 18-year-old, or a 20-year-old, or a 40-year-old???
Cruel and unusual is cruel and unusual. What does the age of the offender have to do with this standard? It's obvious that the path has been laid for the reversal of capital punishment for all offenders based upon the cruel and unusual standard, otherwise the "age of 18" standard for cruel and unusual is moronic.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Also, how do you begin? I can't just start writing without some sort of preamble, some sort of motto or mission statement, can I?
I have decided to start this blog because:
1. I am inspired by those who have done this with great success (Hugh Hewitt).
2. I have shared links to other blogs and articles (along with my comments) to various friends for years. This would be a more efficient way to keep that information in one place.
3. I am challenging myself... to see if I have the discipline to maintain and grow this territory on the web.
There. That's why I'm here. Now I can get to writing without worrying about this stupid first post!