Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wednesday Whoosh

Today in history

On Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese forces attacked American and British territories and possessions in the Pacific, including the home base of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

(I remember an incident from the 4th grade - Ruth had to watch a special "Waltons" episode for school about Pearl Harbor. I wanted to watch the Pink Panther Christmas special. The 2nd TV didn't work, and Grandma wouldn't let me watch Pink Panther at their house because they wanted to watch the same Waltons episode, and I was so mad. I wound up watching the Waltons thing, but I regretted the fit-throwing later.)


Well, the little personal essay spell is over - let's just talk about what's goin' on in the world for a few minutes.

R.I.P. to Robert McFerrin.


According to the article:

ST. LOUIS - Robert McFerrin Sr. (pic at right), the first black man to sing solo at the New York
Metropolitan Opera and the father of Grammy-winning conductor-vocalist Bobby McFerrin (pic at left), has died. He was 85.

Wow. What a gene pool! Here are some more excerpts from the article:

In 1953, McFerrin won the Metropolitan Opera national auditions. His 1955 debut with the Metropolitan Opera as Amonasro in "Aida" made him the first black male member of the company.

He performed in 10 operas over three seasons. He appeared just three weeks after contralto Marian Anderson made her historic debut Jan. 7, 1955, as the first black to sing a principal role at the Met.

McFerrin is also known for providing the vocals for Sidney Poitier in the 1959 movie "Porgy and Bess."

McFerrin was born in Marianna, Ark., one of eight children of a strict Baptist minister who forbade his son to sing anything but gospel music.

That changed when McFerrin moved to St. Louis in 1936, and a music teacher discovered and encouraged his talent.

In the late 1940s and early '50s, McFerrin sang on Broadway, performed with the National Negro Opera Company and the New York City Opera Company. He moved back to St. Louis in 1973.

He suffered a stroke in 1989, but his singing voice remained with him and he continued to perform for many years afterward.

I think - if I can - I'm going to try and find some of the recordings McFerrin Sr. has done over the years. If Bobby McFerrin is from the same "tree", something tells me I'm going to enjoy these recordings thoroughly.

Also, it's nice to see that a father and son who both perform didn't have rivalries (that the public knew about, anyway). That's a tribute to both of them, really. So many times, competition rears its ugly head, and from that can spew resentment and other joyous things.

So rest in peace, Bobby's dad. I'm kind of jealous of my dad...he'll have lots of beautiful voices to listen to in heaven, and I have to wait. Sigh...


Next, another "Egg-Suckin' Dog" is in our midst, and from Hollyweird as well!

Today's winner: Andy Dick

Reason: Following in Michael Richards' racially insulting footsteps. To quote the article:

Dick, a former co-star of the '90s sitcom "NewsRadio," jumped onstage during a routine by Ian Bagg at the Improv on Saturday night and used the n-word in an apparent attempt to joke about Richards, the celebrity Web site reported Tuesday.

According to TMZ, Dick had been heckling Bagg from the audience and then joined him onstage, when the two discussed Richards. When Dick exited the stage, he suddenly grabbed the microphone and shouted at the crowd, "You're all a bunch of ...'" — using the n-word.

Double plus bonus? None, really, other than the fact that Dick has a website. Click here to go visit, then tell me what it's like...I think I'll skip the visit, thanks.

Judge's Comments:

Quick aside: In college, I was in a women's choir, and one semester we had a director named Arthur Dyck. There was always confusion as to how to pronounce it...and when one is directing a women's choir with that last name, it's a no-win situation. However, I never heard him use the "n" word.

First of seems to me like everything Andy Dick does is quite calculated. He plays the wacky card, but it's kind of like he has an ulterior motive. This insults real wackjobs like myself.

Secondly, can you say "wanna-be"? Come on - we've vented about Michaels and as far as I'm concerned, I'm done with the subject. Why did Mr. Dick seem to feel that it should be brought up AGAIN? Is this improv gone horribly wrong, or a calculated effort to get one's name in the tabloids to scare up a cartoon voice-over or a gig on "Regis and Kelly"? As long as he doesn't cover up Kelly Ripa's mouth, they should be fine!

Here's another feature article from the Chicago Sun-Times about Mr. Dick...who apparently has cashed in on that surname several times throughout his career (including a pant drop/winkie exposure in 2005). Plus one more from the NY Post about celebrities and bisexuality where Andy is quoted.

This is my opinion: Dick needs to think of something original to do. He can do it. He just needs to do it. Really.


Finally, another edition of "Where Are They Now?" is here...

and today it's former District Judge Donald "Pump it if you got it" Thompson.

If you recall, I discussed his hijinks on the judicial bench (refer to this post).

Well, apparently, Judge Thompson has been denied parole. To quote the article:

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted 5-0 against granting early release to former Judge Donald Thompson, who was sentenced to four consecutive one-year jail terms in August for indecent exposure. Prosecutors claimed Thompson used a device called a penis pump while presiding over trials between 2002 and 2003.

Of course, each side has their say, as is normal in our society. First, the defense, in the form of Thompson's attorney, Rob Nigh. To quote the article again:

Thompson's attorney, Rob Nigh, told the board his client maintained his innocence and deserved to be considered for early release. He said the device was a gag gift from a longtime friend and that Thompson never used it, and that the punishment exceeded the conviction.

"He's lost everything. He's lost his profession. He's lost the ability to be a lawyer. He's lost the ability to ever be a judge," Nigh said.

The prosecutors had their say too (can't leave anyone out):

Special prosecutor Richard Smothermon and assistant district attorney Pattye High lobbied against Thompson's early release during the meeting, saying he hadn't shown remorse for his actions. Smothermon also told the parole board that Thompson refused a plea deal in which he would have served no prison time in exchange for a guilty plea to a misdemeanor and that the former judge deserved "not an ounce of leniency."

Here's what I think (not that it matters).

Should Judge Thompson be thought of as a "sex addict" of sorts? I mean, this activity disrupted his life's work, and that seems like a pretty good indicator of an addiction to me.

BUT...he made the error in judgment to whip it out while making legal decisions that affected people's lives. According to the prosecutor, Thompson was offered a plea of misdemeanor charges and the man would have never even served time. If Judge Thompson wanted to keep on with his "not guilty" trip, that's fine, but the situation doesn't always play out to the accused's advantage.

If he's an addict, this is how he's paying for that addiction...just like any other addict would. If he's not an addict, then he made grievous errors in judgment. Either way, it's only four years, and Thompson needs to use that time to figure out what he CAN do. If the law is out, then he'll have to do some serious thinking. Does anyone know if he's going to lose his pension or not? I thought I read that he would. Oh well...he's got to rebuild, just like everyone else.


And finally...

Thought for Today: "Any frontal attack on ignorance is bound to fail because the masses are always ready to defend their most precious possession — their ignorance." — Hendrik Willem van Loon, Dutch-American journalist and lecturer (1882-1944).

Sudiegirl's response:

That explains for the large fanbase for reality shows. As well as many, many other things.

Enjoy life today, y'all!

Your ever-lovin' Sudiegirl