Wednesday, December 19, 2007

ACLU and Public Religion

If ideologies are really religions, then the ACLU hasn't even begun its work. They would have to take themselves out of trying to effect government. How can one keep one's religion "private?" If one’s religion truly informs all actions, then it will affect how a person responds in public. I am not talking about being inconsiderate of others, which the ACLU has no problem with. Rudeness is a virtue to them. I’m flipping through radio stations in my car with my kids, who knows what kind of language they will hear. This kind of garbage is “protected speech.”

In a small town in the Midwest or the South if a person says a generic prayer for good sportsmanship and safety for the players, how is that offending anyone? Is it that much of a burden to politely be quite for one whole minute while the majority express some kind thoughts for the teams? That is not forcing one's religion on another person, nor is it the US Legislature "establishing religion." Instead it is the courts "restricting the free exercise thereof." My thought for today.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Next Great American Band the Next Great American TV Show?

One of the other television shows we watch is the Next Great American Band on Fox. I stumbled across this the first night it was on, and as I love music, I convinced my wife to let me watch. Well, now she and the kids are hooked as well. I’ve never seen American Idol, but I take it this is similar in format except it is for a whole band, not just a singer. Several genres are represented; bluegrass, country, southern gospel, rock, pop, and heavy metal.

Clark Brothers

Of the ones left, The Clark Brothers are my favorite. They are a country gospel trio that puts everything they got into each song. Their version of the Rolling Stones song “Gimme Shelter” was stunning. I was on the floor.

My wife likes Sixwire, a country band with lots of harmony. They put on a great live show and are fantastic musicians. Plus the lead singer is cute and has "great band hair."

Great band hair, Sixwire

Of the bands that are gone, the one that should have stayed is Franklin Bridge. These guys were seriously good. Similar in style to Living Color, they didn’t follow any one style too closely. It’s too bad they are gone, and the week they didn’t get to play, all the bands were playing Leiber and Stroller songs. You probably can’t name ten rock and roll songs without naming one by Leiber and Stroller. I would love to have heard what they were going to do with that.

I also liked Très Bien!, a 60s British Invasion type band, playing 1960s good-time rock and roll.

My kids love Light of Doom. They are a bunch of kids that are phenomenal and sound like Iron Maiden. They have a future, no doubt about that. We just pray that it doesn’t come too soon and wreck their youth.

Light of Doom

Denver and the Mile High Orchestra plays big band arraignment of the songs. They are really good. Think Chicago or Blood, Sweat and Tears mixed with Harry Conick Jr.

I think Dot Dot Dot or Light of Doom is out tonight. Dot Dot Dot looks like a band, but they are musically the weakest. Plus, they play New Wave. Clark Brothers and Sixwire are the bands to beat.

I may actually buy this show on DVD!


Life, the greatest TV show in A Long Time

I don’t make it a habit to shill for television shows, but the NBC show Life is one of the sharpest written programs in a long time. We only watch about 4 shows a week at our house, so I certainly may have missed some good ones, but I still think Life would be in my top-two ever.

The story is about a cop named Charlie Crews who spent 12 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. He got some huge freakin’ settlement from the state when DNA proved him innocent and now he is back on the force looking for the real killer (and the one(s) who set him up) while solving 'ordinary' murders. Lots of conspiracy, everyone could be involved it seems, and Crews has accepted a “zen” way of life to deal with his anger. This makes him an annoyance to his partner and his way of speaking disarms the people he questions.

Of course, I would like to have seen him adopt a “grace” way of life. It would be interesting if Crews could meet up with a “grace” person and they could have a very interesting chat. Note to writers: don’t make the Christian a killer or hypocrite. Thanks. I hope the WGA writer’s strike ends soon so we can get back to some excellent TV. (BTW I agree with the writer’s strike, but that’s for another post.)

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Thin Man Series

Sequels are nothing new in Hollywood. But some things have changed. Where are the stars of today? William Powell and Myrna Loy are so perfect in these roles as Nick and Nora Charles, they command the screen. The level of wit in those movies is really something. Even with thin plots and some of the actors are less than A-list, the writing is sharp and the way the two leads deliver a line is something. Not just the lines, but the looks (and that is what makes stars). In one of the movies Nick tells Nora he likes their son, “We should do that again.” Nora replies, “Anytime, dear.” William Powell’s expression says more than any double entendre most modern screenwriters could accomplish. I love the way the banter just rolls from them, like it’s natural for a married couple to have fun. The wit may remind one of a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie, except they don’t hate each other in the beginning. And instead of a romantic comedy, Nick and Nora solve mysteries. Their dog, Asta, steals clues.

The Thin Man really shouldn’t be the name of the series, as it applies only to the case in the first film in the series.

Many people think that old movies are safe for the whole family; that may be true. Nick and Nora are a married couple crazy about each other, they don’t swear, and they sleep in separate beds. However, In the Thin Man movies William Powell is just short of an alcoholic, in fact in the first one, I say they both are. And many things they say are suggestive in a way that is clear to most adults, but goes over the head of kids. As a woman is walking away from their table, Nora says mentions the woman’s earrings. Watching the woman walk away, Nick says “Yes, quite beautiful.” “The earrings are higher.” Nora points out.

After the Thin Man is not very good. In the second film in the series, the first 40 minutes are wasted trying to set the story up, when really, there isn’t much story to set up. Too many sets are allowed to go on for too long, looking for that extra laugh that never comes. The mystery is OK, but the banter is weak and the wit is not as sharp. One of the most clearly suggestive items is a very clear “infidelity” on the part of Mrs. Asta, the (insert a word for female dog). This is kind of amusing, but it is carried too far and goes on too long. I’m surprised there were more Thin Mans made after this one. If there is any reason to watch, it’s the lovely Myrna Loy (especially in her New Years Eve dress) and a very young Jimmy Stewart in a role you may not expect. Another adult moment comes when a microphone is discovered in the one-room apartment of a woman seeing several men. When she realizes the eavesdropper could hear “everything,” the camera goes close-up on her wide-eyed face as she gasps, “Golly!”

I once heard that the 1930s could have been the 1960s in permissiveness if the depression, followed by World War II, had not happened. People tend to go conservative when the world goes out of control. I have no idea how accurate this is, but watching some of these early 1930s movies causes one to wonder.

I will review the rest of the series soon.

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