Category Archives: Pop Culture

‘An Open Letter to My Critics’ (2013)

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The last time I re-ran this post, it touched off a lively discussion among the readers. I’d like to see it do it again.

https://leeduigon.com/2013/08/23/an-open-letter-to-my-critics/

Why it should be at all controversial, in a work of fiction, to depict a religious dimension to the characters’ lives and culture, is not easy to explain. Some of those secular fanatics really hate it if you even admit “religion” exists.

It has been suggested that I could be more winsome in my dealings with them.

That much effort, I’ll save for more important things.


No Car Yet

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I’m no one’s idea of a car buff. I can’t tell one model from another. I’ve never bought a record with a song about cars on it, despite having grown up in the 1950s.

But my car’s still in the shop today, and that has begun to make me antsy. A car is something you use in everyday life and it feels kind of creepy when you haven’t got one. You can’t go anywhere unless someone else takes you. It makes a dent in your independence.

All right, if you listen to NPR and virtue-signal by pedaling your bike to Whole Foods, bully for you–where do we put the statue? But for the rest of us–well, the car played a huge role in the creation of the middle class, and we’re not ready to sacrifice it to your Green New Deal. So go AOC yourselves.


The Mystery of the Rotary Phone

These two 17-year-olds are smart enough to be engineering students: but can they figure out how to use a rotary phone?

We’re not making fun of them. They’ve never seen, let alone used, one of these before. And yet it wasn’t so long ago that a rotary phone was found in every American household.

This is how knowledge gets lost. And it can happen quickly.

All right, rotary phones are obsolete, we don’t need them anymore, few people still have one. The rotary phone has been replaced by more advanced technology. But much more important knowledge can get lost, without being replaced: a knowledge of history, for instance, or a grasp of civics. Thanks to our laughably inadequate “education” system, knowledge of history and civics is all but extinct. That’s why there are millions of young people who literally do not know that the law of the land, the Constitution, limits what the government is allowed to do.

We don’t need the rotary phone anymore, but we still need history and civics. And we’re quickly losing that knowledge.

We could wind up paying a very heavy penalty for that.


‘A Visit to the Library’

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The costliest education system in world history–and nobody at the library ever heard of Idylls of the King.

https://leeduigon.com/2014/06/28/a-visit-to-the-library/

You can get a lot of gay stuff there, though. Why, they’ve even got a Drag Queen Story Hour!

And it’s all on the public’s dime.


Memory Lane: ‘Captain Gallant’

 

There must be some of you out there who remember this vintage 1955 TV show, Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion. This theme music has been lodged in my memory ever since I was six years old.

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Captain Gallant starred Olympic swimmer Buster Crabbe, famous for his roles as Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, with a stint as Tarzan, too–his was a name to conjure with, back then. His real-life son, Cullen “Cuffy” Crabbe, co-starred with him in this show. What they were supposed to be doing, stationing a little kid at a Foreign Legion post which was always getting attacked by the Arabs, is difficult to imagine. But if I remember rightly, the same motif was used in Rin Tin Tin, a memory which I’ll get to on another day. I guess it was done to keep children in the audience.

Buster Crabbe! What a big name he was, once upon a time!

I wonder if I can fit him into my Bell Mountain movie.


More on the Chess Cheating Scandal

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The lead story on the radio nooze this morning was some celebrity Hollywood doofus and her husband could actually go to jail for doling out up to half a million bucks in bribes, to get their two dumb kids into a “prestige” university. What for, who knows?–so they can “learn” that “white people own time”? But the point is, these rich and famous people cheated.

I’ve been thinking about a much smaller cheating scandal–the cheat performed by the Henderson middle school in Texas, to win the U.S. Chess Federation’s national scholastic chess championship (https://leeduigon.com/2019/04/08/teaching-kids-to-cheat-at-chess/).

Most of the cheating in high-level chess is hi-tech, but any team can, like Henderson, resort to “sandbagging” (https://www.chess.com/blog/SamCopeland/how-to-cheat-at-chess). Your team enters a bunch of low-level tournaments and throws all its games to weak opponents, to drive your rating down in time for the big important tournament that you really want to win. Your new crummy ratings insure easy match-ups and lots of cheap wins on your way to the title.

But the Henderson team got caught, and will be stripped of the championship.

Some questions remain to be answered.

Did the parents know their kids were cheating? Or suspect it, and say nothing?

When the USCF declared that the whole business was orchestrated by the coach, did the school fire him? Did school officials ever suspect there was cheating, but chose to look the other way?

If this had happened at the junior high school I went to in 1962, a) the coach would have been fired immediately, because the community would have angrily demanded it; and b) the principal would’ve been on the intercom toot-sweet, announcing that the chess team, having brought disgrace upon the school, was as of that moment disbanded.

How deep does this go? Cheat to get your kid into college. Cheat to win at chess. Then brag about it? Pretend the achievement was real, and brag about it?

America doesn’t need less Christianity in its schools.

It needs much, much more.

(I have asked my colleagues at Chessgames.com, all of whom have more chess tournament experience than I do, to weigh in on this. I’ll pass on their opinions, if they offer them.)

 

 


An All-Time Record for Futility

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Bob Nieman, from back when Orioles were Orioles…

Orioles’, er, slugger Chris Davis set an all-time record the other night by going hitless in his 49th consecutive at-bat (https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2019/04/08/record-setting-futility-chris-davis-breaks-mlb-mark-for-longest-hitless-streak/). He may have added to it by the time you read this.

Ah! But “Crush” has a kazoolian-dollar contract with the Orioles, who still owe him $92 million and, with deferred payments, will be paying him through the 2037 baseball season.

Last year–and we really have to wonder, what was his manager thinking?–“Crush” played in 128 games, went to bat 522 times, and hit .168. For those of you who don’t know baseball, the average person plucked off the sidewalk could probably hit .168.

Davis’ rookie year was 2008, so he’s a ten-year veteran who should be in his prime. In 2013 he hit 53 home runs, in 2015, 47. He has a career batting average of .236–sub-par, at least throughout baseball history, I don’t know about now–with a high of .286 in 2013.

I don’t want to persecute the guy, or mock him for failure–I do know what failure feels like–but I am frankly mystified that he’s still in the major leagues. Why haven’t they sent him down to the farm team to see if he can get his stroke (well, what there was of it) back? Whether he plays for the Orioles or one of their farm teams, they still have to pay him. See if a change of scene helps. What could it hurt? The guy is hitting only 168 points higher than a corpse.

It is rare, but not unknown, in baseball for a good player to suddenly and inexplicably lose his ability. Sometimes it turns out to be a hitherto-undetected injury which might or might not be correctable. Other times, no one ever finds the cause. And that’s the end of a career.

I was for much of my life a devoted baseball fan, and practically a walking encyclopedia of baseball. I still treasure baseball’s past. But today there is something, well, unwholesome about it–and about all the other pro and college sports as well. Maybe it’s the obscene amounts of money paid to athletes, some of whom can barely sign their names. Maybe it’s naming ballparks after advertisers and inventing new statistics to make mediocrity seem like brilliance. There’s something about it anymore that creeps me out, though I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Where have you gone, Bob Nieman?


‘The Absurdity of “Diversity” and “Inclusion”‘ (2016)

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Marching off to Lib-land…

We saw an American cop show once–I think it was an episode of Law and Order–that was about the most constipated thing I’ve ever seen. They couldn’t get through a single scene without “including” every identifiable cultural or ethnic group except the Picts–a perfect illustration of the absurdity of “diversity” and “inclusion.”

https://leeduigon.com/2016/06/26/the-absurdity-of-diversity-and-inclusion/

Where is it written that every group must be “included” in everything we do? Where is it written that “diversity” must be pursued as an end in itself, and artificially created?

And with a group of artificially-created “diverse” characters, how come they all look like models, all with perfect teeth and hair, etc.? Why does “diversity” always end up looking and sounding like uniformity?

Uh… because it’s a liberal thing, and lib things never make any sense?


‘What’s Next? Romance with Robots’ (2016)

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This is my official and bona fide prediction of what the Left will try to force down our throats after they get tired of “transgender.”

https://leeduigon.com/2016/04/26/whats-next-romance-with-robots/

I do hate being right about these things!

As the ungodly try to move our civilization off its Christian foundation and onto a new one of unrestricted fornication, watch for the whole building to get shakier and shakier until it finally collapses.

Unless we, uh, stop doing what they say…


‘When It Feels So Good to be Offended’ (2016)

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Gee, isn’t that cultural appropriation, too?

If a Christian were to actively pursue martyrdom as a means of showing the world he’s a better Christian than anybody else, I’m pretty sure that would be a heresy.

But it’s pretty close to what compels leftids to yowl and howl because everything normal people say or do offends them. Even truly meaningless asininities like “cultural appropriation.”

https://leeduigon.com/2016/03/11/when-it-feels-so-good-to-be-offended/

Now to try to attach a picture to this post. I’ll be amazed if it succeeds. It it won’t, well, at least “WannaBe” is on the case.


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