The Spectacle Blog

Five Observations About The Premiere of The Final Season of Downton Abbey

By on 1.3.16 | 11:37PM

Like millions of people, I watched the premiere of the final season of Downton Abbey. I would like to take a moment to share a few observations:

1. Mrs. Patmore should demand a raise for having to talk to Mr. Carson about sex at the request of Mrs. Hughes. 

2. At first, I thought it a mistake for Mr. Crawley to pay off Lady Mary's blackmailer. But even Mary was impressed when he told her he only paid 50 quid. She even called her "Papa" Machiavellian. For Mary, that is a compliment.

3. Daisy did herself no favors with her outburst at the Darnley estate sale. It just goes to show what bad influences socialists like Ms. Bunting can be. 

4. The police have assured Anna and Mr. Bates there will be further business regarding the death of Mr. Green. Yet I cannot help but feel an impending sense of doom. 

5. Mary snipes at Edith. So what else is new? It's amazing to me that Mary cannot walk into a room without getting six marriage proposals while Edith can't leave a room without contracting a terminal disease. But in all honesty, if I was presented with the choice of Mary or Edith, I am an Edith man all the way and I don't care who knows. 

Thoughts on Saudi Arabia Breaking Diplomatic Ties with Iran

By on 1.3.16 | 7:41PM

The perpetually volatile Middle East became much more so volatile with Saudi Arabia's decision to execute 47 people. While most of those executed had ties to al Qaeda, the execution that has drawn the most ire was that of a Shi'ite cleric named Nimr al-Nimr, an imam who publicly eschewed violence, but was nevertheless critical of the Saudi regime. The execution drew the anger of Iran and its Shia majority with the regime summoning the Saudi ambassador to protest. The Saudi embassy in Tehran was then attacked which prompted the House of Saud to break up diplomatic relations. 

The Terrible Uniform Store

By on 1.3.16 | 2:22PM

Another NFL team has been shopping at the Terrible Uniform Store. The Pittsburgh Steelers occasionally appear in a uniform that makes them look like bumblebees. If you’ve seen it you know what I mean. I’m pretty sure it was designed by Dr. Seuss. A week or two back the Tampa Bay Bucs played the St. Louis Rams. Both teams played in top-to-shoes, solid-color uniforms — the Bucs red, the Rams gold — that made them look like they were wearing children’s pajamas, complete with footies. Today’s offense to the eyes comes courtesy of the Miami Dolphins, who are wearing solid green outfits, tending to aqua. Geez, it’s hard enough to try to deal with the New England Patriots when you players don’t look like tall bottles of mouthwash.

Obama to Host Gun Control Town Hall Meeting in Prime Time on CNN

By on 1.3.16 | 1:39PM

President Obama will be hosting a town hall meeting on gun control which will air in prime time on CNN this Thursday evening at 8 p.m. EST.

Obama will share the stage with Anderson Cooper in the program which will be titled "Guns in America". It will air a day shy of the 5th anniversary of the Tucson shooting which claimed the lives of six people and injured 15 others including former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. There's no word if she will appear on the program.

The aim of the program will be to persuade the public to bring pressure to bear upon Congress to enact gun control measures. During his weekly address, Obama stated, "We know that we can't stop every act of violence. But what if we tried to stop even one? What if Congress did something -- anything -- to protect our kids from gun violence?"

Sandra Bullock Blitzes Bowls

By on 1.3.16 | 12:35PM

With my pancakes and coffee Sunday morning I ran across an Associated Press story in the Tampa Tribune sports page on how the 117 bowl games played Saturday enjoyed uniformly low television ratings. How could this happen in a football-happy country? The AP writer speculates the lack of interest may have something to do with the fact that the average margin of victory in these games was nine touchdowns. Hard to maintain interest in the fourth when your team is down 73-0.

But it’s still a puzzlement. I mean, who wouldn’t want to watch the Honey Boo Boo Bowl, which pitted the fighting Cumquats of South-East by North-West Louisiana Teachers College against Craters-of-the-Moon State. Okay, the Moonies lost all of their games this season and didn’t score a single touchdown. But they had some tough opponents, including Smith and Vassar (those babes aren’t big, but they stick like a bur).

Vern Rapp, R.I.P.

By on 1.2.16 | 2:10PM

Former big league manager Vern Rapp passed away of natural causes on Thursday. He was 87.

Rapp was a career minor league player with the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Giants, New York Yankees and Detrot Tigers systems who found success as a minor league manager.  Rapp would manage in the Yankees, Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and Montreal Expos organizations. While in the Expos organization, Rapp guided the Triple AAA Denver Bears to an American Assocation pennant in 1976. This Bears team included future Expos stars such as Andre Dawson, Ellis Valentine, Warren Cromartie and Rodney Scott. At the age of 48, Rapp would also collect a single in a pinch hit appearance for the club.

Natalie Cole, R.I.P.

By on 1.1.16 | 11:56PM

Singer Natalie Cole passed away on Thursday of congestive heart failure. She was 65.

Cole, of course, was the daughter of legendary singer Nat King Cole. She would achieve fame in her own right a decade after his death with a string of r&b hits during the mid to late 1970's. Drug abuse would curtail her career during most of the 1980's, but she would get back on track late that decade. Cole is probably best known for a 1991 vocal re-mix of her father's classic hit "Unforgettable". During this period, Cole mostly recorded jazz music. 

In recent years, as a result of her earlier drug abuse. Cole struggled with Hepatitis C, liver and kidney diseasse. In 2009, she underwent a kidney transplant. Those health problems accelerated in December forcing her to cancel a series of concerts before eventually being hospitalized.

The Natalie Cole song with which I am most familiar is "This Will Be" which was her first big hit and would earn her a Grammy Award. You can watch this video of her performing the song on British TV in the 1970's.

Wayne Rogers, R.I.P.

By on 12.31.15 | 10:57PM

Actor turned investment guru Wayne Rogers has passed away from complications of pneumonia at the age of 82. 

Rogers is, of course, best remembered for his portrayal of Dr. "Trapper" John McIntyre during the first three seasons of M*A*S*H before departing the series in 1975. 

Some of Rogers' TV credits prior to M*A*S*H include Wanted: Dead or Alive, Stagecoach West, Gunsmoke and The Fugitive. Following his departure from M*A*S*H, Rogers starred in the short-lived series City of Angels and had recurring roles on shows like House Calls and Murder, She Wrote. 

Why I Doubt Hillary Will Call ISIS Treatment of Christians & Other Religious Minorities Genocide If She’s Elected President

By on 12.31.15 | 1:09PM


Yesterday, I learned that Hillary Clinton had described ISIS' barbarism towards Christians and other religious minorities as "genocide" while reading a post by NRO editor-at-large Kathryn Jean Lopez who said, "Thank you Hillary Clinton."


It is a significant development because until now the Obama Administration has been unwilling to use that word where it concerns ISIS treatment of Christians and other religious minorities


Over at the WaPo, Michelle Boorstein writes, "Hillary Clinton’s use of the word “genocide” to describe the Islamic State’s treatment of Christians could change her political profile among some voters — conservative Christians in particular."


Sure, Now Donald Trump is Offended by Bill Clinton’s Behavior Towards Women

By on 12.31.15 | 12:07PM

Donald Trump can criticize Bill Clinton's behavior towards women to his heart's content. But it's hard for me to take Trump seriously on this front.

As with Hillary, Trump hasn't always thought so poorly of the former President's behavior. In 2008, Trump stated, “Look at the trouble Bill Clinton got into with something that was totally unimportant and they tried to impeach him, which was nonsense. And yet Bush got us into this horrible war with lies, by lying, by saying they had weapons of mass destruction, by saying all sorts of things that turned out not to be true.”

So let's be clear here. In 2008, Trump thought Bill Clinton's behavior with Monica Lewinsky was "totally unimportant." As we enter 2016, only now does Trump consider Clinton to have "a terrible record of women abuse" and only now is he disturbed by his "penchant for sexism."