Sunday, August 25, 2019

A Song from Hadestown

Anais Mitchell is a folk singer from Vermont.  In 2010, she released a concept album called Hadestown.  The album told the ancient myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in the context of a Depression-era U.S. town.  Over time, Hadestown's audience grew and grew, to the point where it became a full-fledged Broadway show.  Last year, it won the Tony Award for Best Musical, making Mitchell the only woman to single-handedly write a show that won that award.

I'm not here to review the whole show, which is remarkably clever and tuneful.  Instead, I want to focus on one particular song.  Discouraged with her poor economic prospects in a depressed economy, Eurydice goes to the Underworld in the hope of finding prosperity.  When she gets there, she finds that Hades has everyone working all the time on a giant wall.  To explain this phenomenon, Mitchell has written a folk song that does a remarkable job of capturing the logic of modern capitalism -- which puts enormous pressure on everyone to work so that they can get more work.  I've long been surprised that we don't see more protest art about modern capitalism, but Mitchell has given a strong entry here with a number that echoes "Where Have All the Flowers Gone."  She has also shown that when you are writing English, do not underestimate the power of words with only one syllable.

"Why We Build the Wall" takes the form of a call-and-response between Hades and the Dead.  The next time you are called into a meeting on business development, you might want to think about this song:

Why do we build the wall
My children, my children?
Why do we build the wall?

Why do we build the wall?
We build the wall to keep us free
That's why we build the wall
We build the wall to keep us free.

How does the wall keep us free
My children, my children?
How does the wall keep us free?

How does the wall keep us free?
The wall keeps out the enemy
And we build the wall to keep us free
That's why we build the wall
We build the wall to keep us free.

Who do we call the enemy
My children, my children?
Who do we call the enemy?

Who do we call the enemy?
The enemy is poverty
And the wall keeps out the enemy
And we build the wall to keep us free
That's why we build the wall
We build the wall to keep us free.

Because we have and they have not
My children, my children
Because they want what we have got.

Because we have and they have not
Because they want what we have got
The enemy is poverty
And the wall keeps out the enemy
And we build the wall to keep us free
That's why we build the wall
We build the wall to keep us free.

What do we have that they should want
My children, my children?
What do we have that they should want?

What do we have that they should want?
We have a wall to work upon
We have work and they have none

And our work is never done
My children, my children!
And the war is never won!

The enemy is poverty
And the wall keeps out the enemy
And we build the wall to keep us free
That's why we build the wall
We build the wall to keep us free
We build the wall to keep us free.


Copyright 2010 righteous babe records, all rights reserved.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

NFL19 Update

The Miami Dolphins are playing a live, professional-football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on national, prime-time television. Comments flow!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

What's On TV Tonight (1973)?

I think I might have some things I would like to say about this made-for-TV movie, “The Couple Takes a Wife,” which aired at 7:30 p.m. Central on Channel 3 on Aug. 21, 1973, as ABC’s Tuesday Movie of the Week. I've got some stuff to do early this 2019 evening, and then I plan to take a look while I fold laundry later tonight. So, you know, we'll see. Here was the description in the Paducah Sun-Democrat: "Girl hired by a working couple to take care of the domestic chores turns the household upside down by going beyond the call of duty."

Sunday, August 18, 2019

BMW Championship -- Day Four Wrap-Up

Well, it was  a long and disappointing day for John Augenstein (of Owensboro Catholic and Vandy) in the finals of the U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst.  After 28 holes of the 36 hole match, Augenstein was 2-up with only eight holes to play.  Then the roof fell in.  His opponent, Andy Ogletree of Georgia Tech, won the 29th hole thanks to a bogey by Augenstein.  Then Ogletree birdied the 31st hole to tie the match.  Then Augenstein bogeyed the 32d hole to go 1 down.  And when Augenstein double-bogeyed the par-3 35th hole, he was 2 down with only 1 hole left, and the match was over.  So Ogletree is your new U.S. Amateur Champion, and Augenstein will be left to ponder what might have been.

Another Kentuckian, however, had a much better day.  Justin Thomas (of Louisville St. X and Vandy) picked up his first win of the year, and the 10th win of his career, by cruising to a three-shot win at the BMW Championship in Medinah.  Thomas had a huge lead going into today's round, since he shot an 11-under par 61 yesterday.  But given that Medinah was basically playing like the typical pitch and putt, you knew that other guys would have low scores today.  Sure enough, Hideki Matsuyama shot a 63.  Patrick Cantlay shot a 65.  If Thomas had been shaky, his lead could have gotten away.  Instead he shot a solid 68, and won by three shots.

From my perspective, the experiment of treating the BMW Championship like a major tournament was a failure.  It had a great field, and Medinah is a great old course that has hosted numerous majors in the past.  Thomas is a major-quality winner.  But the barrage of birdies and eagles that we saw over the last few days made it feel like you were watching something more like the John Deere Classic than the PGA Championship.  (When Brooks Koepka won the PGA at Bethpage Black earlier this year, his winning score was 8-under par.)

Next year we have the Olympics and the GOP Convention in August, so maybe there will be enough sports to get through that month.  But I don't think the BMW Championship is the answer.

Oh, and neither Tiger Woods nor Jordan Spieth qualified for next week's Tour Championship.  And the PGA has come up with some sort of gimmick that is supposed to create more drama, but which will make me want to turn to the channel.  No matter what they try, I am never going to believe that winning the Playoffs is a bigger deal than winning a major.  I wish they would accept that, but I fear that they won't.

1.  J. Thomas-25 (65+69+61+68=263)

2.  P. Cantlay-22 (66+67+68+65=266)

3.  H. Matsuyama (JPN):  -20 (69+63+73+63=268)

4.  T. Finau-18 (67+66+68+69=270)

T5.  J. Rahm (ESP):  -16 (68+69+66+69=272)
T5.  B. Snedeker-16 (66+71+67+68=272)

T7.  C. Conners (CAN):  -15 (69+66+69+69=273)
T7.  L. Glover-15 (66+69+69+69=273)

T9.  A. Scott (AUS):  -14 (67+71+69+67=274)
T9.  K. Kisner-14 (68+68+69+69=274)

Saturday, August 17, 2019

BMW Championship -- Day Three Wrap-Up

It's a shame I decided to take a nap, because I missed one of the best rounds of golf you will ever see.  Justin Thomas put on a spectacular show at Medinah today, shooting an 11-under par sixty-one in order to pull away from the field.

On the other hand, a major problem with trying to treat the BMW Championship as a major tournament is that the course is not set up like a major.  The scores this week look more like the best golfers in the world are at Paxton Park than at a famous old country club.

Anyway, the golf world is better when Justin Thomas is playing well, and we will hope he can win tomorrow.

In retrospect, I should have been following the U.S. Amateur, which is also being played this weekend, and which is an actual major tournament.  This year, they're playing the Amateur at Pinehurst Number Two, and one of the great stories of the week is another Kentuckian -- John Augenstein.  Augenstein played his high school golf for Owensboro Catholic and now plays for Vandy.  Here's what he's done so far:

In the round of 64, he played Ryan Smith, a rising high school senior from Carlsbad, Calif.  He beat Smith 6 and 4.

In the round of 32, he played Akshay Bhatia, the top-ranked player in the country under 18.  He beat Bhatia 4 and 2.

In the round of 16, he played Ricky Castillo, the number-9 amateur in the world.  Castillo just graduated from high school, and he will be playing for Florida in the fall.  He also had the second-best score of anyone in the qualifying rounds at the Amateur.  This was a great match.  After eight holes, Augenstein was 4-up.  But then Castillo won the 10th hole with an eagle, the 11th hole with a birdie, and the 12th hole with another birdie.  Now Augenstein was only one up.  But he parred the last six holes in a row -- and all Castillo could do was match him par for par.  With the one-up victory, Augenstein moved into the quarter-finals.

In the quarterfinals, Augenstein faced Palmer Jackson, who just graduated from high school in Murrysville, Pa. and who will be playing at Notre Dame in the fall.  Augenstein was 3-up after five holes, but lost the eighth and ninth holes due to bogeys.  But he righted the ship, and the next five holes were halved.  Jackson then bogeyed the 15th and 16th holes, and Augenstein had a 3 and 2 victory.

In the semifinals, Augenstein faced William Holcomb V from Crockett, Tex.  Holcomb is a rising senior at Sam Houston State.  Holcomb birdied the third hole to go 1-up.  Augenstein tied him with a par on the 4th.  Holcomb then bogeyed the 6th and 7th holes, and found himself 2 down.  But he birdied the 9th and was only 1 down.  The next four holes were halved, but Holcomb lost the 14th with a bogey.  When Augenstein won the 16th with a birdie, he had a 3 and 2 victory and a trip to tomorrow's 36-hole final.

So Kentucky golfers are going for a double tomorrow.  Justin Thomas -- of Louisville St. Xavier and the University of Alabama -- will be trying to win the BMW Championship.  John Augenstein -- of Owensboro Catholic and Vanderbilt University -- will be trying to win the U.S. Amateur.  He will be taking on Andy Ogletree, a rising senior at Georgia Tech.

Meanwhile, here are the scores from Medinah:

1.  J. Thomas-21 (65+69+61=195)

T2.  T. Finau-15 (67+66+68=201)
T2.  P. Cantlay-15 (66+67+68=201)

4.  R. Sabbatini (RSA):  -14 (67+68+67=202)

5.  J. Rahm (ESP):  -13 (68+69+66=203)

T6.  B. Snedeker-12 (66+71+67=204)
T6.  C. Conners (CAN):  -12 (69+66+69=204)
T6.  L. Glover-12 (66+69+69=204

T9.  K. Kisner-11 (68+68+69=205)
T9.  X. Schauffele-11 (67+68+70=205)
T9.  H. Matsuyama (JPN):  -11 (69+63+73=205)