Category Archives: Secular

Best Photo from the Queen’s Big Shindig Is a Picture-Within-the-Picture

Okay, pop quiz:

Why is THIS the most memorable photo from the Big Royal Platinum bash in London? Can you see it?

Most people, especially Brits (I expect) will see prime minister and  convicted flagrant Coronavirus scofflaw Boris J, with wife Carrie, arriving for one of the many platinum photo ops — and recall that BJ was being (non)royally booed by the crowd. That’s what got this moment into the news videos.

But that isn’t what grabbed my attention. Continue reading Best Photo from the Queen’s Big Shindig Is a Picture-Within-the-Picture

Hey, Charlie Brown: Will You Ever Kick That Football??

AP News: “A Good Man”: Exhibits honor ‘Peanuts’ creator Schulz on 100th

May 27, 2022

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — In a series of “Peanuts” comic strips that ran in midApril of 1956, Charlie Brown grasps the string of his kite, which was stuck in what came to be known in the longrunning strip as the “kiteeating tree.”

In one episode that week, a frustrated Charlie Brown declines an offer from nemesis Lucy for her to yell at the tree.

“If I had a kite caught up in a tree, Id yell at it,” Lucy responds in the last panel?

The simplicity of that interaction illustrates how different “Peanuts” was from comics drawn before its 1950 debut, said Lucy Shelton Caswell, founding curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State University in Columbus, the worlds largest such museum.

“The idea that you could take a week to talk about this, and it didn’t have to be a gag in the sense of somebody hitting somebody else over the head with a bottle or whatever,” Caswell said. “This was really revolutionary.”

New exhibits on display at the Billy Ireland museum and at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, California, are celebrating the upcoming centenary of the birth of “Peanuts” cartoonist Schulz, born in Minnesota on Nov. 26, 1922.

Schulz carried the lifelong nickname of Sparky, conferred by a relative after a horse called Sparky in an early comic strip, Barney Google.

Schulz was never a fan of the name “Peanuts,” chosen by the syndicate because his original title, “Li’l Folks,” was too similar to another strip’s name. But the Columbus exhibit makes clear through strips, memorabilia and commentary that Schulzs creation was a juggernaut in its day.

At the time of Schulz’s retirement in 1999 following a cancer diagnosis, his creation ran in more than 2,600 newspapers, was translated into 21 languages in 75 countries and had an estimated daily readership of 355 million. Schulz personally created and drew 17,897 “Peanuts” strips, even after a tremor affected his hand.

The strip was also the subject of the frequently performed play, “Youre a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” as well as “Snoopy: The Musical,” dozens of TV specials and shows, and many book collections.

Bill Watterson, creator of “Calvin and Hobbes,” described in a 2007 Wall Street Journal review of a Schultz biography the difficulty of looking at “Peanuts” with fresh eyes because of how revolutionary it was at the time.

Benjamin Clark, curator of the Schulz museum, describes that innovation as Schulzs use of a spare line that maintains its expressiveness.

Schulz “understood technically in drawing that he could strip away what was unnecessary and still pack an emotional punch with the simplestappearing lines,” Clark said. “But that simplicity is deceptive. There’s so much in these.”

The exhibit in Columbus displays strips featuring 12 “devices” that Schulz thought set Peanuts apart, including episodes involving the kiteeating tree, Snoopys doghouse, Lucy in her psychiatry booth, Linus obsession with the Great Pumpkin, the Beethovenplaying Schroeder, and more.

“Celebrating Sparky” also focuses on Schulzs promotion of womens rights through strips about Title IX, the groundbreaking law requiring parity in womens sports; and his introduction of a character of color, Franklin, spurred by a readers urging following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

In addition, the display includes memorabilia, from branded paper towels to Pez dispensers, part of the massive “Peanuts” licensing world. Some fellow cartoonists disliked the way Schulz commercialized the strip.

He dismissed the criticism, arguing that comic strips had always been commercial, starting with their invention as a way to sell newspapers, Caswell said.

While 1965s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is one of the most famous cartoon TV specials of all time, the characters have also returned in dozens of animated shows and films, most recently in original shows and specials on Apple TV.

Those Apple programs introduced new viewers to the truth of what Schulz drew, his wife, Jean Schulz, told The Associated Press last year. She described that truth this way:

“A family of characters who live in a neighborhood, get along with each other, have fun with each other, have arguments sometimes with each other, but end up always in a good frame hugging each other or resolving their arguments,” she said.

Caswell, who first met Schulz in the 1980s, said one of the exhibits goals was to surprise people with things they didnt know about the man. In that, “Celebrating Sparky” succeeds admirably.

Who knew, for example, that Schulz, a hockey and iceskating lover, is in both the U.S. Figure Skating and U.S. Hockey halls of fame? (Perhaps that isnt surprising, given multiple strips that featured a hockeyplaying Snoopy or Zambonis driven by the little yellow bird, Woodstock.)

By focusing on Schulz, the exhibit also aims to show he worked hard to perfect his drawing style before “Peanuts” was launched and was intentional about what he wanted the strip to be, Caswell said.

“This was a person of genius who had a very clear, creative focus to his life, and enjoyed making people laugh,” she said.

“Celebrating Sparky: Charles M. Schulz and Peanuts” at the Billy Ireland museum runs through November and was mounted in partnership with the Charles M. Schulz Museum.

The Charles M. Schulz Museum has two exhibits commemorating Schulzs birth: “Spark Plug to Snoopy: 100 Years of Schulz,” which explores comic strips and artists who influenced Schultz (running through Sept. 18); and “The Spark of Schulz: A Centennial Celebration, exploring cartoonists and artists influenced by Schulz (from Sept. 25, 2022, through March 12, 2023)
___

Associated Press US Entertainment Video Editor Brooke Lefferts in New York contributed to this report

Will Lucy ALWAYS Snatch Away The Football, Charlie Brown??

AP News: “A Good Man”: Exhibits honor ‘Peanuts’ creator Schulz on 100th

May 27, 2022

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — In a series of “Peanuts” comic strips that ran in midApril of 1956, Charlie Brown grasps the string of his kite, which was stuck in what came to be known in the longrunning strip as the “kiteeating tree.”

In one episode that week, a frustrated Charlie Brown declines an offer from nemesis Lucy for her to yell at the tree.

“If I had a kite caught up in a tree, Id yell at it,” Lucy responds in the last panel?

The simplicity of that interaction illustrates how different “Peanuts” was from comics drawn before its 1950 debut, said Lucy Shelton Caswell, founding curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State University in Columbus, the worlds largest such museum.

 

“The idea that you could take a week to talk about this, and it didn’t have to be a gag in the sense of somebody hitting somebody else over the head with a bottle or whatever,” Caswell said. “This was really revolutionary.”

New exhibits on display at the Billy Ireland museum and at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, California, are celebrating the upcoming centenary of the birth of “Peanuts” cartoonist Schulz, born in Minnesota on Nov. 26, 1922.

Schulz carried the lifelong nickname of Sparky, conferred by a relative after a horse called Sparky in an early comic strip, Barney Google.

Schulz was never a fan of the name “Peanuts,” chosen by the syndicate because his original title, “Li’l Folks,” was too similar to another strip’s name. But the Columbus exhibit makes clear through strips, memorabilia and commentary that Schulzs creation was a juggernaut in its day.

At the time of Schulz’s retirement in 1999 following a cancer diagnosis, his creation ran in more than 2,600 newspapers, was translated into 21 languages in 75 countries and had an estimated daily readership of 355 million. Schulz personally created and drew 17,897 “Peanuts” strips, even after a tremor affected his hand.

The strip was also the subject of the frequently performed play, “Youre a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” as well as “Snoopy: The Musical,” dozens of TV specials and shows, and many book collections.

Bill Watterson, creator of “Calvin and Hobbes,” described in a 2007 Wall Street Journal review of a Schultz biography the difficulty of looking at “Peanuts” with fresh eyes because of how revolutionary it was at the time.

Benjamin Clark, curator of the Schulz museum, describes that innovation as Schulzs use of a spare line that maintains its expressiveness.

Schulz “understood technically in drawing that he could strip away what was unnecessary and still pack an emotional punch with the simplestappearing lines,” Clark said. “But that simplicity is deceptive. There’s so much in these.”

The exhibit in Columbus displays strips featuring 12 “devices” that Schulz thought set Peanuts apart, including episodes involving the kiteeating tree, Snoopys doghouse, Lucy in her psychiatry booth, Linus obsession with the Great Pumpkin, the Beethovenplaying Schroeder, and more.

“Celebrating Sparky” also focuses on Schulzs promotion of womens rights through strips about Title IX, the groundbreaking law requiring parity in womens sports; and his introduction of a character of color, Franklin, spurred by a readers urging following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

In addition, the display includes memorabilia, from branded paper towels to Pez dispensers, part of the massive “Peanuts” licensing world. Some fellow cartoonists disliked the way Schulz commercialized the strip.

He dismissed the criticism, arguing that comic strips had always been commercial, starting with their invention as a way to sell newspapers, Caswell said.

While 1965s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is one of the most famous cartoon TV specials of all time, the characters have also returned in dozens of animated shows and films, most recently in original shows and specials on Apple TV.

Those Apple programs introduced new viewers to the truth of what Schulz drew, his wife, Jean Schulz, told The Associated Press last year. She described that truth this way:

“A family of characters who live in a neighborhood, get along with each other, have fun with each other, have arguments sometimes with each other, but end up always in a good frame hugging each other or resolving their arguments,” she said.

Caswell, who first met Schulz in the 1980s, said one of the exhibits goals was to surprise people with things they didnt know about the man. In that, “Celebrating Sparky” succeeds admirably.

Who knew, for example, that Schulz, a hockey and iceskating lover, is in both the U.S. Figure Skating and U.S. Hockey halls of fame? (Perhaps that isnt surprising, given multiple strips that featured a hockeyplaying Snoopy or Zambonis driven by the little yellow bird, Woodstock.)

By focusing on Schulz, the exhibit also aims to show he worked hard to perfect his drawing style before “Peanuts” was launched and was intentional about what he wanted the strip to be, Caswell said.

“This was a person of genius who had a very clear, creative focus to his life, and enjoyed making people laugh,” she said.

“Celebrating Sparky: Charles M. Schulz and Peanuts” at the Billy Ireland museum runs through November and was mounted in partnership with the Charles M. Schulz Museum.

The Charles M. Schulz Museum has two exhibits commemorating Schulzs birth: “Spark Plug to Snoopy: 100 Years of Schulz,” which explores comic strips and artists who influenced Schultz (running through Sept. 18); and “The Spark of Schulz: A Centennial Celebration, exploring cartoonists and artists influenced by Schulz (from Sept. 25, 2022, through March 12, 2023)
___

Associated Press US Entertainment Video Editor Brooke Lefferts in New York contributed to this report Continue reading Will Lucy ALWAYS Snatch Away The Football, Charlie Brown??

Alaska and the Weirdest House Primary Ever?

Anchorage Daily News, April 3, 2022 (With comments)

When it comes to name recognition in the free-for-all Alaska Race to succeed the late Rep. Don Young, who served 49 years, Sarah Palin is only Number Two.
[Who’s Number One? Ho ho ho . . .]

A non-MAGA red hat was among the 50 (count ‘em) thrown in the ring Friday, when Santa Claus joined the race.

The man once known as Thomas O’Connor changed his legal name in 2005 and now lives, aptly, in the city of North Pole, outside Fairbanks, where he serves on the city council. He is not affiliated with any party but describes himself as an “independent, progressive, Democratic socialist.” He also said he would not hire any staff or accept campaign donations.

[In North Pole, Alaska, Santa Claus is a bastion of blue on a city council as red as Rudolph’s nose]

Claus, 74, said Friday that he would run only for the special election to carry out the remainder of Young’s term. “I don’t like getting dressed up,” Claus said. “So I’m thinking, well, if I went to Congress, maybe I should just wear the Santa suit.”

SANTA CLAUS FOR ALASKA
@SantaClausforAK
I’m happy to announce that I’m a Candidate in the Special Election for the U.S. House of Representatives for Alaska in 2022!
I’m an independent, progressive, democratic socialist, with an affinity for Bernie Sanders, and aim to represent ALL Alaskans :-)}
http://SantaClausforAlaska.com

While his politics are different from those of Young, his unusual approach to Washington traditions would be in line with Young’s unique antics, which included once wearing a propeller-topped beanie to a congressional hearing.

The list of candidates who had already announced runs before Young’s death includes Republican businessman Nick Begich III, the grandson of Nick Begich Sr., who was elected to Alaska’s lone congressional seat in 1970 but disappeared during a 1972 flight from Anchorage to Juneau. Begich Sr. was replaced by Young in 1973.

Amid the who’s who of Alaska politicians were some everyday Alaskans throwing their name in the mix.

“My greatest qualification is that I’m a fully functional adult,” said John Callahan, an inspector general for the Alaska Air National Guard.

He filed . . . just an hour before the 5 p.m. deadline. “We’ve been sending weirdos to D.C. for 50 years, and I feel like it’s just time we sent a normal person.”

[Weirdos?? Is that really fair to Santa?]

. . . The race also includes some candidates who don’t even live in Alaska. Two men from California and one from Montana are among the candidates. The U.S. Constitution, which sets the requirements for serving in the House, requires that elected members of the House live in the state they represent, but it does not require candidates to do so.

[The candidate roster even includes one whose name is, frankly, Gross. Al Gross, an orthopedic surgeon. But imagine a bumper sticker: “Vote Gross.” Needs some work. Don’t quit your day job, Al.]

With a candidate list so long, politicos across the state were struggling to capture the uniqueness of the race ahead. The election will be Alaska’s first after voters in 2020 adopted a citizens initiative under which the outcome of statewide races will be decided through ranked-choice voting. . . .

“I believe we might be looking for the superlative: wildest. The most wild,” said Joelle Hall, president of the Alaska AFL-CIO and its former political director.

Hall speculated that with so many candidates in the race, it will be almost impossible to predict how many votes will be needed to advance from the primary to the general election. . . .

The huge number of candidates combined with the brief 2.5-month window for campaigning make the primary something of a popularity contest, said Democratic former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich.

Everyone registered in the state’s voter rolls by May 12 will receive a ballot in the mail. . . .

When it comes, the ballot will be a hefty one, with candidates listed alphabetically by last name, A-Z.

. . .The four candidates who receive the most votes will advance to the Aug. 16 statewide primary, where a winner will be chosen by ranked-choice voting.

Well, why not? If you’ve got Sarah the Mama Grizzly versus Santa as a friend of Bernie, and 48 more, bring the popcorn & enjoy the show.

Scaring the Shirt out of me: living with a busted supply chain

I hear about the messed up supply chain all the time. You know: the pandemic, a shutdown, an economic crash, China, the rollercoaster recovery, the Delta wave, etc., etc.

I’ve written about it too, how our washer has been on the blink for ten months now, waiting for a small part, made in China, which is Out There Somewhere. . . .

Well, here comes the complaint again, but this time there’s a bit of an upside. And I hope, some style. Because it’s about shirts.

l expect many readers are like me, and get catalogs in the (postal) mail. And if like me you’re of a certain age, you get catalogs aimed to make your “golden years” more comfortable.

But don’t worry, I’m not going for the gross-out stuff about geezer gadgets and gimmicks to help us relieve ourselves, replace our ears, hair, feet, backs, eyes and other incidentals.

Instead, let’s talk about shirts. Continue reading Scaring the Shirt out of me: living with a busted supply chain

Correction: My Personal Independence Day

Yes, it finally happened.

I’m free.

Dr. King spoke it best, but I can say it too:

And in the end, it was pretty easy:

– A quick search;

– The right turns in the Labyrinth of Settings.

– A single swipe;

– No money down, and

– Not even any “Accept” and “Agree” buttons to click.

Then, when I moved the little dot from “On” to “Off”

PRESTO! It was gone.

I had broken the shackles.

Sawed through the handcuffs.

Picked the lock on the thick cell door.

Yes, mark it on the calendar: September 19, 2021 is The Day I —

TURNED OFF “Auto Correct”!

Yes, much-maligned Google still had enough juice to point the way without putting me through several hours worth of self-playing ads.

And while the IOS geniuses of Apple had buried it several layers down, the switch was right where Google said it was supposed to be.

So now, I am finally liberated and able to feel at long last the thrill of—

Making my OWN stupid mistakes again.

Not some damned fiendishly inventively algorithm’s anymore. MINE.

I was late to the grim party of recording the old regime’s endless horrors: the slip of a pinkie on one letter that was used to turn a weighty colleague’s name into a rude insult; the recurrent demonstration that even after a serious brush with the Ivy League, I had no clue how “its” differed from “it’s”. Or with more at stake, the time  “Clopidogrel” (a blood thinner crucial to many heart patients) became “Cloud ogres” in an email to the Doc. Or when “Short link” turned into “chortling”; and “Bibles” morphed into “Orca inlets.” (Not making any of these up. Other sufferers will have their own lists of lasting humiliations.)

But those days should finally be past. Now the ball is back in my court, and the old gang of familiar typos and screwups can regather, where they’ll be, one hopes, more manageable, less monumentally dumb.

I mean, “Orca inlets”??

 

 

 

 

 

Quote of the Day (or the Summer): Maureen Dowd vs. Bernie


Dowd: At 79, Bernie Sanders is a man on a mission, laser-focused on a list that represents trillions of dollars in government spending that he deems essential. When I stray into other subjects, the senator jabs his finger at his piece of paper or waves it in my face, like Van Helsing warding off Dracula with a cross.

When I ask Sanders if he thinks A.O.C. could be president someday, out comes the list.

“That’s not what I want to get into,” he barks. “I want to get into what this legislation is about.”

“You don’t want to discuss ‘Free Britney’?” I ask.

“No.”

NYTimes, July 11, 2021
After all, for this chance Bernie put up with 30 years of ridicule & condescension from the likes of HRC.

Now he has the opportunity to get more done than she did.

It likely won’t come again, and he will not be distracted by media malarkey, liberal sectarianism, or even his own ego.

Sorry, Britney.

Radical Wisdom vs Conventional Wisdom

Radical Wisdom vs Conventional Wisdom
A Bible Study: Proverbs & Ecclesiastes

The origins of the Hebrew Wisdom books, like most  of the Jewish scriptures, are obscure, and there are various theories.

Some scholars think materials such as the sayings in Proverbs are all conscious, intentional acts of creativity–that is, somebody sat down and wrote them, as a form of aphoristic poetry, a kind of Hebrew haiku. Many such scholars believe they were produced in large part for use in teaching apprentice scribes. They’re primers of a sort, both for learning to write, and as part of a scribe’s preparation for his role as adviser to the powerful.

Continue reading Radical Wisdom vs Conventional Wisdom