Thursday, May 26, 2016


Dark Day

"Conservatism is DEAD! Long live TRUMPISM!"

It is all over the news this morning that asshat Donald Trump now has 1,238 pledged delegates for the Republican National Convention being held in Cleveland in July.

I was always taught that despair is an affront to God, but there are times when it is difficult to resist the temptation insofar as human affairs are concerned. Today is one of those times.

I continue to hope that the RNC delegates will find a way to reject Trump at the convention (his refusal to release his tax returns seems like a suitable pretext to me,
as it does to voters), but I am also hopeful that other alternatives to the major party candidates will emerge.

At the very least, if Trump is in fact nominated by the GOP in July, that will be the death of the party. It might well be the death of the conservative movement as I have known it my entire adult life. I have had better days...

"I should probably keep a low profile for awhile, right?"

Might not be a bad idea...

Feast Day

Today is the feast day of St. Philip Neri, known as "The Apostle of Rome."

I have always had a fondness for
St. Philip due to his reputation for using playful humor in his ministry and his founding of the Congregation of the Oratory secular order, which used theatrical techniques in its mission work. The famed composer Giovanni Palestrina wrote music for St. Philip's popular services.

As an educator, I always embraced
St. Philip's belief that humor was an excellent way to reach the hearts and minds of students. That approach served me well for 30 years in the classroom.

Philip was beatified by Pope Paul V on May 11, 1615. He was canonized by Pope Gregory XV on March 12, 1622.

St. Philip Neri is considered the patron saint of laughter and humor.

Happy Birthday!

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, 1962
On May 26, 1907 Marion Robert Morrison was born in Winterset, Iowa. His middle name was later changed to "Mitchell" when his parents wanted to name another child "Robert," but Morrison made his mark in the world under a third name, John Wayne.

In a Hollywood career spanning nearly 40 years, Wayne became the biggest box office star of his generation.

Although he did a splendid job in films like The Quiet Man and The High and the Mighty, his greatest claim to fame was his career starring in westerns.

Three of his best, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Searchers, and Rio Bravo are all on my all-time favorite movies list.

Marshal Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke, 1955-1975
On May 26, 1923 James King Aurness was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Just as John Wayne is the iconic figure of American western movies, James Arness (he dropped the "u" at the outset of his acting career) is the iconic figure for the TV western, starring in Gunsmoke for 20 seasons.

It was Wayne who recommended Arness for the role of Marshal Matt Dillon (Wayne also did a voice-over
for the pilot episode). He and Wayne became close friends, and Arness appeared in several Wayne films.

Arness also appeared in one of my all-time favorite cheesy science fiction movies, playing the alien in The Thing from Another World in 1951.

Arness had a younger brother Peter, who enjoyed a successful acting career of his own under the stage name Peter Graves.

"Pretty ironic that they'd share a birthday, eh?"

You got that right, pilgrim...

Thrill Ride

From the pen of Lisa Benson, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

One of John Wayne's most acclaimed non-western movie performances was in
William Wellman's 1954 drama The High and the Mighty, considered a precursor of the Hollywood "disaster" films that gained great popularity in the 1970s.

Original 1954 "one sheet" poster
Based on a best-selling novel by Ernest K. Gann, the film was a box office success, and Wayne received praise for "playing against type" in his role as Dan Roman, the First Officer on the flight.

The production received a total of six Academy Award nominations, including a Best Director nod for Wellman.

The movie's lone winner on Oscar Night was Dimitri Tiomkin, who won for Best Original Score. In one of the Academy's oddest quirks, Tiomkin's title song for the film was nominated for Best Song, even though it did not actually appear in the film itself. It did reach No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart, though.

Today's send-off is a suite of themes and motifs from Tiomkin's thrilling score. Enjoy...

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