by John Walters
Tweet Me Right
They do call it the Beehive State…
Christian Soldiers Onward
The hottest hitter, if not the best player, in baseball is Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers. On Saturday Yelich blasted two solo homers against the N.L. champion Dodgers, so of course they intentionally walked him the next time up and Ryan Braun hit a bomb to complete the 5-0 victory.
Three-plus weeks into the season Yelich, the incumbent National League MVP, leads the majors in home runs (13) and RBI (31). Earlier this season he tied the all-time record for home runs hit in the month of March (4) and now he is five home runs away from tying A-Rod and Albert Pujols for the most home runs hit in the month of April (14). Supply your own asterisk here
You Mad, Bro?
We’re old enough to remember the heated Boston-Philly playoff series (more than one) of the early Eighties so, no, hostile springs are nothing new to the NBA (Hostile Springs would be a great name for a MAGA-themed retirement community, by the way). Still, and maybe we’re just older, we’re not finding any enjoyment in the NBA playoffs because no one actually seems to be having any fun.
Patrick Beverly and Kevin Durant are fighting. Jared Dudley and Jimmy Butler are jostling, and being ejected. Demar DeRozan is tossing a ball at a referee and then being tossed himself. Where have you gone, Steve Nash?
Even in baseball, Tim Anderson (who’s black) is calling an opposing player (who’s white) the N-word, and being ejected, and this would have gone viral with certain ESPN media types if the pigments were reversed. Meanwhile, baseball guys, it’s April. What the WTF?
We love heated competition. We’re really over hatred and enmity everywhere all the time. If we wanted that, we’d watch cable news. Somebody, please, smile.
On the other hand/fist, if someone wants to punch out James Harden for this maneuver, I wouldn’t blame them…
The Mouse That Roared
Abigail Disney, the great-niece of Walt Disney, had a few words to say about Disney CEO Robert Iger’s exorbitant income and the utter unethical practice of massive income inequality on Twitter. Last week, or two weeks ago, it was a schlep like me saying this. But when it comes from someone from within the family, and from someone who holds degrees from Yale, Stanford and Columbia (Disney has a PhD in English Lit) perhaps a few more people will stand up and listen.
Disney makes it clear up front that she personally likes Bob Iger. And that she has no problem with him receiving a massive bonus for what he has done. She just thinks, as do I, that one man earning more than 1,000 times the MEDIAN INCOME of a company’s workforce is, her term, “insane.” I agree.
Our Nigerian Prince
The man in the photo above? I love this man. This is Fr. Enoch Okpa, one of the priests at our local congregation here in this patch of the Arizona desert that a friend has dubbed Devil’s Gulch. I have never, through more than a half-century of Catholic services and 16 years of Catholic education, come across a priest more charismatic than Fr. Enoch.
Fr. Enoch was born and raised in Nigeria. Now he finds himself halfway across the planet ministering to a congregation that must be at least 90% white. Likely 90% of his parishioners are over the age of 50. And almost all of them are at least financially comfortable. He is a stranger in a strange land and yet his masses are packed. Why?
For one reason, because his message is so pure. “God is good…” Fr. Enoch announces at least once per mass. “…All the time!” we answer. Then he he says, “All the time…” and we respond, “…God is good.”
His homilies are impassioned but also insightful and, often, humorous. A few weeks ago, discussing the gospel reading where the woman commits adultery and the crowd wants to stone her (Jesus: “Let him without sin cast the first stone…”), Fr. Enoch asked in his thick African accent, “Where was the man?” And he let that question hang there for a second before actually spelling it out: “They do say it takes two to tango.”
His message is infused with positivity, but I discern a frustration in Fr. Enoch, a frustration that his flock is not more joyful. I think he wishes we well-taken-care-of white folk weren’t so reserved; that he could just make us get up and dance. A few weeks ago he did exactly this—it was a bet he and our pastor, Fr. Eric, had made—got us to, just for a few moments, dance.
Fr. Enoch has never quite come out and said it, but my guess is, growing up where he did, having so little materially in relation to what we do, it must astound him that we take our bounty so much for granted. But then, and he knows this, all of life is a bounty. And maybe what frustrates him isn’t that we take our comfort for granted. It’s that too many of us take this life for granted.
The good news is that this one man, Fr. Enoch, is making a tremendous difference in this one community. He has woken up a dormant congregation. The last time he went home to visit his mother in Nigeria, my mother warned him that if he did not return, she would chase him down and bring him back herself.
Gone With The Wuthering Heights
Gone With The Wind and Wuthering Heights.
Two films, both released in 1939. Both based on best-selling novels written by women and set in the 19th century. Both would be nominated in Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress categories (GWTW would win three of those and neither would win in Best Actor).
Having watched both for the first time this month, it dawned on these new eyes that the similarities don’t end there. Both revolved around a beloved old estate that is in danger of being lost. In both, because penicilin has yet to be invented, brandy is seen as a panacea (there was little separating a bartender and a doctor at the time).
But here is where I found the queerest similarity: with a few slight modifications, it’s the same film, a love quadrangle. There’s a character (A) hopelessly in love with another character (B), but B has married a third character (C). Meanwhile, A is also married to someone (D) who, against their better judgment, chooses to marry A anyway.
Let’s match ’em up. Scarlett (Vivian Leigh) is Heathcliff (Sir Laurence Olivier), or A; Ashley (Leslie Howard) is Cathy (Merle Oberon), or B; Melanie (Olivia de Havilland) is Edgar (David Niven) and Rhett (Clark Gable) is Isabella (Geraldine Fitzgerald…whose star hasn’t crossed generations the way some of the other names on this list have, but who was a dish). And of course, since it’s the 19th century (or 1939) someone must die and nobody ends up living happily ever after.
Collectively, those 8 actors won seven Oscars in their careers and every single one of them was at least nominated for one.
So here’s the bizarre twist to it all: it’s the obsessions of Scarlett and Heathcliff that drive both stories. And while these films were being made the actors portraying those characters, Leigh and Olivier, were in the midst of a torrid affair with one another (both were married). They would each divorce and marry one another in 1940, and would remain married for 20 years.
I feel as if maybe everyone already knew this and I didn’t? Is that possible? Shouldn’t someone make a movie about this???
This double play, just because…
You gotta love Muffet McGraw. Two weeks ago she’s advocating for more women in leadership roles, and just like that Brienne of Tarth becomes the first female knight in Westeros…Sunday’s Game Of Thrones episode reminded me of my final night of college except that it did not end with all the characters singing “Take It To The Limit” at the tops of their lungs…Did they really make a Kit Harrington-is-short joke? Yes, they did…Was Arya the final female character to disrobe on the show? Is there any prominent female, still living, who has not disrobed? Or male, for that matter? Ser Davos or Varys, perhaps?…I don’t know what the prop bets are like on who gets killed in the upcoming battle, but I don’t like Jamie Lannister’s chances…meanwhile, do you know how Jamie met the love of his life? “They met across a crowded womb…” Don’t know how Benioff & Weiss failed to ever give that line to Tyrion…
Things you may not have known about Huey Lewis (born Hugh Cregg): Although raised in Marin County, Calif., he was sent back east to tony Lawrenceville Prep School in N.J. He scored a perfect 800 on the math portion of his SAT (it really is hip to be square) and was also an all-state baseball player. He was admitted to Cornell but before matriculating there, on the suggestion of his father (or step-father), spent a year hitchhiking around Europe. One wonders, given that he was born in 1950, if his father was attempting to buy him time before eventually getting drafted for Vietnam. Lewis did attend Cornell for 2-plus years but eventually dropped out in 1969 to pursue his career as a musician. In interviews he has always come off as a grounded, likable, regular guy, and he is. But he’s also always been gifted at most whatever he put his mind to.
This song, by the way, was written by Bruce Hornsby. It was the third and last No. 1 hit for Huey Lewis & The News, in 1987.
Rockets at Jazz
10:30 p.m. TNT
I’m just here to see if the beehive hairdo lady returns. No way James Harden is starting out 0-14 again.