The Spectacle Blog

Billy Paul, R.I.P.

By on 4.25.16 | 2:08PM

Philly soul singer Billy Paul passed away yesterday morning following a recent diagnosis of cancer. Paul was 81.

Although his career spanned more than half a century, Paul is remembered by most as a one-hit wonder. In December 1972, Paul had a number one hit with "Me & Mrs. Jones" which was written by the triumvirate of Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff & "Hippie" Cary Gilbert.

Paul would never replicate the success he had with "Me & Mrs. Jones". It did not help matters when Jesse Jackson saw to it that one of his songs "Let's Make a Baby" was banned from African-American radio stations because of its sexual content. At the same time, white audiences were not receptive to songs like "Am I Black Enough For You?"

Cruz & Kasich Make a Deal; So Why is Trump Mad?

By on 4.25.16 | 1:15PM

My first reaction to the detente between Ted Cruz and John Kasich is a question. What the hell took them so long?

Predictably, Donald Trump had a temper tantrum accusing Cruz and Kasich of engaging in collusion.

No, Cruz and Kasich did not engage in collusion much less do anything illegal. They made a deal. Hasn't Trump been telling us he's great at making deals? Apparently not so much.

Can Trump honestly tell us his people weren't trying to make a deal with Kasich? If they were, Trump isn't neither much of a negotiator nor does he hire great people.

Of course, the Cruz-Kasich detente will motivate Trump's supporters. But will it expand Trump's base? I doubt it.

If this deal sticks does this mean Kasich becomes Cruz's running mate?

We live in interesting times. Perhaps too interesting.

 

Here’s Something You Might Want to Read If Caring For a Loved One With Alzheimer’s Disease

By on 4.24.16 | 6:16PM

I want to share something with you that was written by Neil Goldstein, who is my uncle.

A couple of years ago, my Aunt Barbara (to whom he has been married for 48 years) was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. She needs round the clock care and the lion's share of that care is provided by Uncle Neil. Although he does have two home health care workers to assist, he can never be away for too long. In the times when he has visited my Dad (including his 75th birthday) and even during the time he waited with my Mom, brother and sister at Mount Sinai Hospital while Dad underwent emergency triple bypass, Aunt Barbara can be counted on to phone him to ask him when he is coming home.

I wonder if Nancy Reagan experienced any of this during The Gipper's last decade. 

The Best and the Brightest?

By on 4.23.16 | 7:42PM

Check this little vignette of college students stammering over the question of whether thinking you are a different sex than you were born makes you whatever you think you are. If this doesn’t depress you, it should. Could it be that an entire generation of young people has been separated from their cerebral cortexes?

If I were conducting this dreary little exercise, I might have been tempted to ask: “Should a man who thinks of himself as a woman be considered, psychiatrically, any different from a man who considers himself to be Napoleon?”

Shakespeare Has Been Dead 400 Years, But His Works Are Very Much Alive

By on 4.23.16 | 2:08PM

Four hundred years ago today, William Shakespeare died three days shy of his 52nd birthday. 

It is remarkable that four centuries after his passing, his works are being mounted all in theatres all over the world. 

Can anyone imagine any contemporary playwright's work having such an enduring legacy? Will The Vagina Monologues be consigned to the scrap heap of history? While there might be individual plays that will endure for centuries such as Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman or Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night, but none of them was as prolific as Shakespeare.

Blue Jays Slugger Colabello Suspended 80 Games For Positive PED Test

By on 4.23.16 | 2:52AM

Chris Colabello of the Toronto Blue Jays has been suspended for 80 games as a result of a positive test for PEDs.

The positive test actually took place more than a month ago. For his part, Colabello denies knowingly taking PEDs and evidently appealed his suspension to no avail.

Up until now. Colabello has been something of a baseball feel good story. Colabello, a native of Massachusetts who spent much of his childhood in Italy, played for seven seasons with the Worcester Tornadoes in the independent Can-Am League before the Minnesota Twins signed him in 2012. He would make his big league debut with the Twins in 2013 at the age of 29. In 2015, Colabello joined the Jays and had a career year with a .321 batting average, 15 HR & 54 RBI in 101 games with the AL East champions. 

Trump Thugs Warn GOP Delegates: It’s Trump or Death

By on 4.22.16 | 2:23PM

Here's an excerpt from an article in Politico co-written by Eli Stokols & Kyle Cheney concerning the intimidation leveled at delegates to the forthcoming Republican Convention who see fit not to support Donald Trump:

First it was an email warning Steve House, the Colorado GOP chairman, to hide his family members and “pray you make it to Cleveland.” Then there was the angry man who called his cell phone and told him to put a gun down his throat.

“He said, ‘I’ll call back in two minutes and if you’re still there, I’ll come over and help you’,” House recalled.

Since Donald Trump came up empty in his quest for delegates at the Republican state assembly in Colorado Springs nearly two weeks ago, his angry supporters have responded to Trump’s own claims of a “rigged” nomination process by lashing out at Republican National Committee delegates that they believe won’t support Trump at the party’s convention — including House.

Saluting the Venerable Queen

By on 4.21.16 | 11:50PM

Queen Elizabeth II is 90 years old today. She appears to be in robust health, and could reign for many more years. (Remember, her mother lived to be 101.) Let’s hope she does, because her son Charles is a couple of kippers short of a full English breakfast.

To an American, the idea of a queen, or a king, is more than a bit strange. Eccentric even. But if a country is to have one, it’s hard to imagine anyone doing a better job of it than Elizabeth II has for more than 60 years. She’s smart, always dignified, knows when to put her oar in and when not to. When she gives advice it’s pretty good.

When Elizabeth II became queen in 1952, Winston Churchill was prime minister. The talent pool on the political side has deteriorated seriously since then. Granted I’m getting a look-in from a long way away at a system no American fully understands. But from where I sit it looks like Elizabeth represents adult supervision where it’s badly needed.

Speaking of adult supervision, she’s been a rock during all of the bad times, many of them self-induced, for her own family, many of whose apples have fallen a good distance from the solid tree. 

Jake Arrieta Tosses Second Career No-Hitter

By on 4.21.16 | 10:24PM

Jake Arrieta has done it again. 

The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner threw the first no-hitter of the 2016 MLB season and his second career no-hitter. This time Arrieta no-hit the Cincinnati Reds en route to a massive 16-0 victory for the Chicago Cubs. Six of the Cubs runs were driven in by Kris Bryant who homered twice in the game.

Arrieta threw his first no-hitter last August against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Interestingly, both no-hitters have come away from the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. In fact, Arrieta was on the wrong end of a no-hitter at Wrigley when Cole Hamels tossed one in his final appearance with the Philadelphia Phillies last July. In fact, it's Arrieta's only loss since the 2015 All-Star Break 

Arrieta is one of five active pitchers to have two no-hitters to his credit. The others are Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals who threw both of his no-hitters in 2015, Reds pitcher Homer Bailey, Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers and free agent pitcher Tim Lincecum. 

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