Once again, in the voting before the game, we have seen the eternal conflict between fans who want the absolute best players at each position (based on some unspecified criteria) selected to start and the fans who think it should be the players that fans in general want to see (i.e. the most popular). In most cases, the two are the same. People usually want to see the best players. The discussion gets most wordy when it comes to the reserves and bench players. Who has been snubbed? Who doesn’t really deserve to be there? Why must each team have a representative? Meanwhile, they overlook the fact that a lot of these reserves aren’t going to get into the game until the late innings, might never come to bat, and probably won’t even be mentioned in the broadcast unless and until they are involved in a play. So it doesn’t really matter that much – at least not to the level of debate on the matter.
Tomorrow-Land: The 1964-65 World’s Fair and the Transformation of America
Lyons Press, 2014
Ah, the 1964-65 World’s Fair. The last gasp of 50′s optimism, where good ol’ American Know-How and “can do” spirit would solve all the problems of the world and make the future wonderful. A showcase for America’s industrial might and corporate prowess, as well as a sort of “coming out” party for the new nations of the world that had just achieved independence.
Tirella doesn’t look at the Fair itself. This is not a guidebook. Rather, he uses the Fair as a focal point for all the changes taking place in American culture and society. For the Fair seemed to somehow draw them all into its orbit.
This past Saturday, I managed to watch the Argentina-Belgium World Cup match. It was on the TV in the restaurant where I was having dinner. A part of me wonders if what I actually saw was an edited highlight replay, since if it was all ninety minutes, then my meal took an unconscionable amount of time to get to me.
Now I could blather on about the Great Mystery of why soccer has never really hit it big here in the U.S. (Hint: Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, and even the PGA and NASCAR aren’t going anywhere in the foreseeable future), but that’s for another essay at another time. Right now, there’s another mystery that baffles the heck out of me.
On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted to approve Richard Henry Lee’s resolution declaring independence from Britain for thirteen of the British colonies in North America.
“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.” (The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, Harvard University Press, 1975, 142.)
Generally, only the first part of this passage is quoted. It’s probably only to poke a little harmless fun at John Adams for dropping the ball on the date. We now celebrate the occasion on the date when the formal resolution was first signed and published.
But the rest is the more significant part. Adams, along with the rest of the delegates, were fully aware that the road ahead would be long and dangerous, and not just personally.
The war would drag on for seven long years, with many close calls. If the Continental Army had not been able to escape after losing the Battle of Long Island the next month… If Benedict Arnold hadn’t been able to build a fleet on Lake Champlain to block the British at Valcour Island that fall… If Washington’s surprise attack on Trenton in December, 1776 had failed… If Arnold hadn’t disobeyed orders at Saratoga… If Washington had been killed while doing recon near Brandywine Creek in 1777… If the “Conway Cabal” had succeeded… If the British had defeated the French Expeditionary Force… If Daniel Morgan’s troops had panicked at Cowpens… If the British had managed to escape at Yorktown… If the Newburgh Conspiracy had succeeded…
It would take even longer, but the thirteen new states would eventually fuse into something greater than the sum of their parts. I think we can all agree with Adams that “the End is more than worth all the Means”, and we have no reason to rue that Days Transaction.
A few weeks ago, I discovered that my RF Modulator had given up the ghost. That’s the little box that connects both a DVD player and the antenna to a TV. Seems that the little power indicator LED doesn’t come on anymore. That should give you some idea of how little TV I watch that I have no clue how long it’s been out. At work the next day, I went online to get some prices on a replacement.
Even though that was just a few minutes of searching, and it was several weeks ago, I am still seeing banner ads offering me deals on RF Modulators.
With the imminent arrival of summer (if it’s not already here for all intents and purposes), various movie review/ranking and pop culture websites dust off their lists of the “Best Vacation Movies of All Time”. And without fail, almost all of them overlook the one that really does deserve to head the list. Sadly, Les Vacances des Monsieur Hulot (“Mr. Hulot’s Holiday”) suffers from being both a foreign movie and over sixty years old.
The good old Hollywood Bandwagon. A surprisingly successful movie will (or at least would – copyright lawyers are a bit more active these days) frequently spawn legions of imitators. This happened with Jaws back in the late 70’s, and became common enough so that any movie that even so much as vaguely resembled a previous one got stuck with the “knock-off” or “rip-off” label. Sometimes this was deserved, sometimes it wasn’t. With Starcrash, an Italian space opera, it wasn’t. Sure, there’s the opening shot of a long slow pan across a giant spaceship, light saber-like weapons, and there was that one version of the movie poster that looked like a MAD Magazine parody of a Star Wars poster, but that’s about it. Not everything brown tastes like chocolate…