Pratt is back! The pictorial presence of my man-crush is indication that it is time for another State of the Season for this blog where I look back at the past 12 posts with summaries and occasionally added insight.
The overall themes for this time of year were again fueled by sports (mainly football) and entertainment, and the latter dwelt a lot with the deaths of some stars, but also some anniversaries. So let’s wind the clock back three months, and take a look at what was written.
“Get the Led Out” – My first post of this round is a celebration of the 45th anniversary of the release of Led Zeppelin’s fourth album, which is often regarded as their best. I offered it as an escape for us Americans who had the roughest trip to the voting polls in many a year. Oh, when there was still some semblance of political stability. Oh well, we still have “Rock and Roll”!
The next month of posts was about football from two colleges.
“You Better Believe I’m Writing About Fucking Football!” was my stunned and overjoyed reaction to my alma mater, John Carroll University, beating our rival school and the epitome of football powerhouse, Mount Union, in the sport for the first time in my lifetime after I had developed object permanence.
“Because it ain’t just no game” is my annual “Hate Michigan” post leading up to The Game between my beloved Ohio State Buckeyes and their bitter rivals, the Michigan Wolverines. Former Ohio State national champion and undefeated quarterback Cardale Jones added to his already legendary Twitter account by tweeting what I used as this post’s title leading up to The Game. In this year’s rendition, I recounted the incredible Game of the Century between the two schools in 2006, a game that would have a worthy successor 10 years later….
“Time and Change Will Surely Show How Firm Thy Friendship Ohio” – So worthy a successor it was that I needed to write about it immediately.
“Final Fours Are For Football Too” was my immediate, excited reaction to John Carroll advancing to the final four of the Division III football playoff championship. The Blue Streaks ended up losing the next game, to the same team on the same field where they lost their season opener in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The announcers spoke before the game about the growth John Carroll had made throughout the season, especially in not losing another game after that opener, and one asked the other what the biggest difference between that game and this one was. Without missing a beat he answered, “About 60 degrees!” Temperatures for the much closer rematch were around a balmy 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Godspeed John Glenn” is my appreciation of the legendary astronaut and senator from my home state of Ohio.
“Consider Again That Dot” – Keeping with the cosmic theme and taking it even farther, I saluted the life of Carl Sagan 20 years after his death, focusing on his life, his impact on science education, and ending with his “Pale Blue Dot” speech, which is to me, the greatest speech ever given.
“This Year Sucked; These Songs Don’t” is my third annual collection of songs to help find your center with because of the message or mood they present to give listeners some guidance in life. I’m going to write in my will to have that last one playing at my funeral.
“Queen of the Princesses” – Along with David Bowie and Prince, Carrie Fisher was the most stunning and depressing celebrity death for me to process last year. In this post, I wrote about what her performances meant to me over the years, especially her immortal role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars saga.
“2016 was rough, but at least it had good movies” – I discussed the latest entry into that saga in this annual look back at the best movies I saw each year. I have since seen La La Land and loved it and would easily place it with the “Now we’re talking!” collection of films. It was not entirely what I expected, and that is good because for as much as I like bright and bubbly musicals, we need ones that cover all ranges of human emotion, and this one does.
“They Cannot Take Your Pride” started as a closer look at my favorite U2 song, but it ended up being a deeper dive into the impact of music on the American civil rights movement of the 1960’s and 70’s, as well as the song Stevie Wonder made to lobby for the creation of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“The Next of the Movie Moments” is the continuation of what I plan to be a series of closer looks at scenes and sequences in movies that are done right, meaning the moments that add up to being more than momentary and help to add to the story by building up to it or building up on it and displaying real emotion along the way. This time around I took a look at the promontory chase in 1992’s The Last of the Mohicans, one of the most exciting climactic sequences in any film I’ve seen.
Typically, I include some new bonus content in the form of fun facts to give a fresh perspective to the coda of this quarterly recap post; however, today I am utilizing this window for a small send-up of some recently lost icons. Over the last nine days the world has seen the passing of three people who left their mark in the fields of entertainment and legislation. The most publicized recent death is that of Mary Tyler Moore whose brilliance and persistence in her work combated the disadvantages of women with humor and a constant smile. She helped pave the way for many women after her by showing that just because it’s been a man’s world doesn’t mean it should be. Hats off to you, Mary.
Where Moore was most active as a television actor, John Hurt was well known for the stage and big screen. A prime example of British professionalism on-screen and respected for his candor off-screen, Hurt made indelible impressions on the films he worked on, from his Oscar-nominated performances in The Elephant Man and Midnight Express to book-based blockbusters like the Harry Potter series and V for Vendetta. His first burst onto the screen in 1966’s A Man for All Seasons in a supporting role as Richard Rich was memorable, though not as much as the burst he would suffer in 1979’s Alien, a scary scene he did again for laughs with Mel Brooks for the 1987 film Spaceballs.
Finally, though not as well-broadcast as the actors, Judge William A. Norris died on January 21. He was a long-serving political figure in California, especially known for his time on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (which, as one can see, is much more than just California). While on that court in 1988, he made a landmark ruling in Watkins v. United States Army that dealt with Sergeant Perry J. Watkins having been discharged after revealing that he was gay. Judge Norris decreed that he and other soldiers have the same protection and rights under the Constitution as racial minorities. He also stated that interracial marriage was allowed under the Constitution, and that banning it and banning homosexuals admittance into the armed forces were legally, as well as morally wrong. In addition to being judge who moved forward the causes of gay rights and civil rights, he also helped found the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and served as its board of directors president for 12 years.
Thanks for reading! I hope that you continue reading what I offer, or at least that you find something better and more enriching to fill your time with. If you ever have anything you would like to discuss with me, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will continue to provide new posts every Monday, so please stop back for more each and every week.
Best wishes to all,