Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Saints, Sinners, and Legends

And Again...

The latest ISIS-inspired terror attack took place yesterday at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey.

As I write these words the death toll stands at 41, with an additional 230 people injured.

Possibly because it happened in another country and the terrorists used suicide vests,
the President has yet to use this atrocity as a pretext to campaign for more gun control in the United States.

Or perhaps he hasn't gotten around to that yet because he's too busy golfing...

"Rather a harsh assessment, don't you think?"

I absolutely do not...

Cruise Update

Today my best friend Skip and his wife Elaine are at sea all day, traveling from Scotland to Denmark...

Seven Seas Voyager at sea

"Denmark, eh? Any chance he'll bring you back some butter cookies?"

I consider that highly unlikely...

Feast Day

St. Peter, by Anthony van Dyck
Today is the feast day of St. Peter, venerated as the first Pope of the Catholic Church.

Peter was one of the original Twelve Apostles chosen by Jesus, and like all but one of the twelve he was martyred for the faith.

Among his numerous patronages, Peter is the patron of stationers, people who make writing paper and writing instruments, which I love.

I am happy to live in one of the many parishes named for him.
St. Peter's in Council Bluffs is a charming, old-school church which has become very dear to me.

St. Paul, by Pompeo Girolamo Batoni

Today is also the feast day of
St. Paul, also known as Paul the Apostle, one of the most significant writers and teachers in the history of the Christian faith.

A significant portion of the New Testament is attributed to St. Paul, and his writings form the basis of many important church doctrines, including the important question of justification. In fact, St. Paul is considered the patron saint of theologians.

Requiescat in Pace

December 27, 1931 - June 28, 2016

Yesterday brought news of the death of legendary guitarist Scotty Moore,
at age 84.

Moore made his name playing with Elvis Presley, and his sound, especially his sizzling lead breaks, inspired the generation of British and American guitarists who dominated rock and roll beginning in the mid-'60s.

Scotty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.

June 14, 1952 - June 28, 2016

Yesterday also brought news of the death of Pat Summitt, the longtime coach of the University of Tennessee women's basketball team. She had suffered from Alzheimer's Disease since 2011. She had just turned 64 two weeks ago.

I'm old enough to remember when women's college basketball received scant press coverage. The first NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament wasn't held until the 1981-82 season.

Summitt and her Lady Volunteers helped transform the sport. She retired with 8 NCAA Championships and 1,098 wins. In 38 years of coaching her teams never had a losing season, and every player who completed eligibility for her graduated with a degree.

Well done, coach...


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

Until Next Time...

On June 29, 1911 Max Herman was born in New York City. Encouraged by his father to pursue musical interests, and inspired by winning a composition contest when he was 13, he chose to study music first at New York University and then at the Julliard School.

Having adopted Bernard Herrmann as his professional name, he had formed his own orchestra by age 20, and was hired as a staff conductor by the CBS radio network when he was just 23.

Herrmann's greatest claim to fame, however, is his work scoring films. He won the Academy Award for Best Score in 1941 for The Devil and Daniel Webster. By that time Herrmann was collaborating with Orson Welles, both with his radio programs and his film work. Herrmann also received a Best Score Academy Award nomination for Welles's Citizen Kane in 1941, making him one of the rare film composers to be competing with himself for the Oscar in a particular year. In 1951 he composed a truly spooky score for The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Original 1959 "one sheet" poster
Herrmann's place in cinematic history was cemented by his lengthy partnership with Alfred Hitchcock.

All seven of Herrmann's scores for Hitchcock films are marvelous, but my own personal favorite is North By Northwest, which is not coincidentally my favorite Hitchcock film (and one of my All-Time Top 5 as well).

Possibly due to Hollywood politics, none of Herrmann's scores for Hitchcock received Academy Award nominations, but the American Film Institute included the scores for Psycho and Vertigo in its list of the
25 Greatest Film Scores, with seven of his other scores (including North By Northwest) nominated for the honor.

Today's send-off is a suite of themes and motifs from Herrmann's classic North By Northwest score. Enjoy...

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