Posts

Janis Joplin Dies – 47 Years Ago

It doesn’t seem possible. On October 4, 1970, rock singer Janis Joplin died of an accidental heroin overdose. That’s 47 years ago today.

Joplin’s raw vocalizations, uninhibited performances, and fringe lifestyle characterized the hippie generation of the Woodstock era. The native of southeastern Texas dropped out of college in 1963 to sing fold music in Texas clubs. Her hard-rock, bluesy vocals landed her a gig as lead singer of the band Big Brother and the Holding Company. Big Brother’s first album for Columbia Records was Cheap Thrills. In 1968, when the album went to number one, Joplin had completed her transformation to a strong-willed, sexually aggressive rock icon. In 1969, she performed at Woodstock with her own group, the Kozmic Blues Band, and contributed to rock history by continuing to break conventions and cross barriers as a high-intensity female performer. Joplin was inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

Posthumously. That means what she accomplished was not fully recognized until after her death.

On a much bigger scale, a man did something else 2,000 years ago that won him the greatest “posthumously” recognition of all time. Jesus, after his death, did something even more significant than anything he ever did in life. He was resurrected the third day. And that changed everything.

Jesus was the greatest man who ever lived – and died – and rose again. Janis Joplin is worthy of our recognition. But only Jesus Christ is worthy of our praise.

The Rushmore Report: The Break-up of the Cast of TV’s #1 New Comedy – What Happened?

I’ll admit it. I was hooked. The #1 new comedy of this past television season quickly became a can’t-miss show at our household. We rarely watch the current crop of comedies on TV because they a) aren’t funny, b) are crude, and c) are dumb. But Kevin Can Wait was different. And much of the laughter was generated by the on-air connection of Kevin James and Errin Hayes – until she was fired. So what happened?

It’s pretty simple. After working with Leah Remini for nearly a decade on The King of Queens, James established a kinship with his on-screen wife. So, he invited her to appear as a guest on one episode of Kevin Can Wait. And soon after, Hayes was released from the show that drew the highest audience of any new comedy of the year.

Insiders say Kevin James simply felt he had a better chemistry with Remini. What is not clear is how his wife of season one will suddenly be replaced on-air for season two.

Hayes isn’t saying much. She said in Twitter, “True, I’ve been let go from the show. Very sad, I had a great experience season 1. Thank you for all the support from our wonderful fans.”

Here’s the lesson for all of us. We are not promised anything for tomorrow. In fact, we aren’t even promised tomorrow. In a second, we can lose the security of a great job, a great marriage, and great health. In an instant, it can all be gone.

I’m sure Errin Hayes will be okay. I’m guessing she was paid handsomely for her work in season one. And surely she will get another acting job soon.

Others are not so fortunate. The Bible warns against making assumptions about the future. That’s why we need to live fully in the only day any of us is ever promised – today.

Disneyland’s First Day

On July 17, 1955 – 62 years ago today – Disneyland Park, originally called Disneyland, opened under the direct supervision of Walt Disney himself. Walt came up with the concept after visiting amusement parks with his daughters in the 1930s and 1940s. He bought the 160-acre site near Anaheim in 1953. Construction began a year later.

Disneyland was dedicated at an “International Press Preview” event held on Sunday, July 17, 1955, which was only open to invited guests and the media. Although 28,000 people attended the event, only about half of those were actual invitees, the rest having purchased counterfeit tickets. The following day, it opened to the public, featuring 20 attractions.

The Special Sunday events, including the dedication, were televised nationwide and anchored by three of Walt Disney’s friends from Hollywood: Art Linkletter, Bob Cummings, and Ronald Reagan.

Yes, Ronald Reagan.

ABC broadcast the event live, during which many guests tripped over the television camera cables. In Frontierland, a camera caught Cummings kissing a dancer. When Disney started to read the plaque for Tomorrowland, he read part way then stopped when a technician off-camera said something to him, and after realizing he was on-air, he said, “I thought I got a signal,” and began the dedication from the start. At one point, while in Fantasyland, Linkletter tried to give coverage to Cummings, who was on the pirate ship. He was not ready, and tried to give the coverage back to Linkletter, who had lost his microphone. Cummings then did a play-by-play of him trying to find it in front of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

So Disneyland didn’t get off to a great start. But Walt Disney famously said, “It’s not how you start that matters, but what you do next.”

The same is true in life. To get the full thrill of this ride God calls “life,” it’s not about how we start, or even where we are now – but what we do next.

The Death of a Comic

We need to laugh more. The Bible says laughter is good medicine. It really is. That’s why we love comics so much. I grew up watching The Bob Newhart Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show with my parents every week. I still love the classics: The Dick Van Dyke Show, Leave It to Beaver, Get Smart, and that “it really makes you think classic,” The Three Stooges.

Yep, we love our comedy and we love our comics.

That’s what makes this day in history so sad. It was nine years ago today – it’s hard to believe it’s been that long – that George Carlin died. The 71-year-old comedian died of heart failure.

Carlin made his first appearance on The Tonight Show in 1962. He became known as a clean-cut, conventional comic. But around 1970, that all changed.

Carlin reinvented himself as one who disdained all things conventional. He became a biting critic and commentator in a successful effort to appeal to a younger crowd. In 1973, the FCC held the comic’s famous routine “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” to be “indecent,” and the FCC order banning its broadcast was upheld by the United States Supreme Court.

This did not curtail Carlin’s rise to fame. In 1975, he was the first guest host on Saturday Night Live. Two years later, he starred in the first of a series of 14 comedy specials for HBO. Carlin continued to perform his HBO specials and his live comedy gigs into the early 21st century.

No, Carlin’s brand of humor wasn’t to my liking. He became too distasteful for me – and millions of others. But he always had his following, and it was a loyal following, to be sure.

Why? Because we need to laugh. Even if what we are laughing at isn’t that funny, even if it’s rather crude – we still need to laugh.

So, while I don’t miss the comedy of George Carlin, I do miss what he brought a generation of Americans. He brought what we need now more than ever. He brought laughter.

The Rushmore Report: Lessons from Tiger Wood’s Latest Failure

Early Sunday morning, Tiger Woods was arrested for driving under the influence. Fifteen hours later, he issued a statement in an attempt to save face. Following the incident 30 miles from his home in Jupiter, Florida, Woods said that alcohol was not involved, and that his condition resulted from “an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.” I see four lessons from Tiger’s latest fall from grace.

First, let’s consider his statement. Woods said, “I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions. I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.” Woods then apologized to his fans and pledged to “do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again.” He closed his statement by thanking the Jupiter Police Department and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

So what are we to make of this latest event in the life of the man who sat atop the world golf rankings longer than any player in history? On the plus side, Woods has been a great father and perhaps the most driven and successful golfer who ever picked up a set of clubs.

On the down side, Woods is an admitted sex addict who was unfaithful to his wife through the entirety of their marriage. Add to that previous DUI arrests and huge anger problems, and you have one complicated man.

Tossing the latest failure into the mix, I offer a few observations.

1. Tiger is more like us than we may like to admit.

Tiger Woods was unfaithful to his wife. So are most married men. On occasion, Tiger drinks too much. So does about half of the American population. Tiger is consumed with personal achievement. So are most of us. Tiger Woods has personal struggles. So do we all.

2. There is one big difference between Tiger Woods and most of us.

Here it is – Tiger lives his life on the public stage. I can’t imagine what this must be like. There are three groups of people. There are those who live in total anonymity. Then there are public figures who can retreat to places of anonymity when they so choose. And then there are public figures who are so well known that there is no place to hide. Tiger Woods falls into that category.

3. Life is about what happens after the fall.

Muhammad Ali, the greatest athlete who ever lived (in my humble opinion) famously said, “What matters is not how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get back up.” Tiger Woods has been knocked down more times than any of us can possibly know. He has been knocked down by physical injuries, the loss of his best friend and dad, a failed marriage, addiction, and countless personal flaws. But in life, as with his golf game, he keeps swinging. Last week, he vowed (again) to return to the game that made him famous and wildly successful. It seems that no injury, no personal failure, and no mistake – regardless how great – can keep Tiger down. For that he deserves great credit.

4. God is about redemption.

One of the most poignant things any of us can say, when contemplating tossing rocks Tiger’s way is this – “If not for the grace of God that could be me.” Your failures are probably not Tiger’s failures. But you have failures he does not have. The closer to God I get, the further away I realize I still am. And the more I recognize my own faults, the less I see faults in others. Life is about redemption.

Tiger Woods’ life is an open book. And it is an interesting book. But make no mistake. It is a book whose final chapter has yet to be written.

The Rushmore Report: CNN’s Sad, Shocking Response to Repugnant Display by Kathy Griffin

Tuesday, liberal comedian Kathy Griffin posted a photo of herself holding up a bloody head resembling President Donald Trump, reminiscent of ISIS holding up the heads of beheaded Christians. When criticized for her repulsive action, her initial response was self-defense. “I’m a comic,” she said. While her action has received near-universal condemnation, it is the response of CNN, for whom she hosts the annual New Year’s Eve show, that is both sad and shocking.

Before we get to CNN, let’s consider the response of both friend and foe. Debra Messing said, “What Kathy did is not right.” Chelsea Clinton went further, calling the display “vile and wrong.”

On the Republican side, Mitt Romney tweeted, “Our politics have become too base, too low, and too vulgar, but Kathy Griffin’s post descends into an even more repugnant and vile territory.” And Donald Trump, Jr. wrote, “Disgusting but not surprising. This is the left today. They consider this acceptable. Imagine that a conservative did this to Obama as POTUS?”

What makes Griffin’s actions most disturbing is that they were premeditated. She took the time to pose for the photo, then post it. She knew exactly what was coming. And this was not out of character for the comedian.

At the Emmy Awards a few years ago, Griffin said this in her acceptance speech. “A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus.” Then she said, “Suck it, Jesus. This is my God now!” referring to the Emmy.

Still, CNN continued to pay Griffin ungodly amounts of money for her ungodly hate speech. Never did they (nor any other liberal leaders) condemn her “Suck it, Jesus” comment.

Now, back to CNN’s sad, shocking response to the Donald Trump ISIS/headless display. Having had 24 hours to consider their response and plans to keep Griffin or replace her on their huge New Year’s Eve program, this was CNN’s initial, official response . . .

“We found what she did disgusting and offensive. We are pleased to see she has apologized and asked that the photos be taken down. We are evaluating our New Year’s Eve coverage and have made no decisions at this point.”

Are you kidding me? Evaluating? No decisions at this point? 

Imagine that Dennis Miller, conservative comedian and frequent guest on Fox News Channel, had done the exact same thing to President Obama while he was in office. Imagine Dennis Miller holding up an apparent severed head of Obama as a joke. Imagine the universal outrage. And then imagine Fox making the same statement that CNN made. “We are evaluating Dennis Miller’s actions. We are evaluating keeping him on our most watched program of the year. No decisions have been made at this point.”

CNN, what “decision” is there to be made? Kathy Griffin’s vile demonstration was planned and executed exactly as intended. While her apology (issued only after universal outrage) was a good thing, it certainly didn’t erase what she had done.

CNN may fire Griffin from their New Year’s Eve show. I’m guessing they will, simply out of fear of losing sponsors. They may announce her dismissal before this article is even posted. But to wait 24 hours to “evaluate” her status tells you all you need to know.

Actions have consequences. Unless you are a liberal comedian working for CNN.

FBI Declassifies J. Edgar Hoover’s Extensive File on the Munsters

I just read this story online, so it must be true . . .

Unsealing the dossier after nearly 50 years, the Federal Bureau of Investigation declassified former director J. Edgar Hoover’s extensive file on the Munster family, sources confirmed Monday. “Those 3,600 documents reveal that the California monster family were of significant interest to J. Edgar Hoover during his extrajudicial intelligence-gathering campaigns,” said Andrew Jewett, an American History professor at Harvard, adding that from 1964-66 the FBI chief had obtained numerous tapes of the Munsters and instructed federal agents to transcribe all conversations of the 1313 Mockingbird Lane residents. “According to multiple letters to officials, Hoover suspected that Munster family patriarch Vladimir Dracula, or ‘Grandpa’ was a communist working in his dungeon laboratory to develop chemical weapons to use on American soldiers and civilians. He was also convinced they were using the tower at Munster Mansion to send coded messages to either the Soviets or radical dissident political groups.” Several documents also reportedly showed that Hoover had directed FBI agents to follow the Munster Koach and to recruit neice Marilyn Munster as an informant.

So there you go. Apparently, the Munsters were spies. My faith in Herman, Lily, and Eddie is forever tainted.

On second thought, I’m going to choose to remember the Munsters the way I did as a child. I loved that old show. Every day after school I watched The Munsters reruns. I had friends who favored the Addams Family. Not me. I’ll take Grandpa over Lurch any day.

Childhood memories are a good thing. As I get older, those are the only memories I still have! What about you? Take a few minutes today and think back over the good times you enjoyed as a child. Will it give you a special spiritual boost or make you more successful? I’m not sure. But it will put a smile on your face. And in today’s world, that’s something.

The Rushmore Report: Tim Allen Compares Hollywood to Nazi Germany

Tim Allen, conservative actor and star of the recently canceled television series Last Man Standing, compared Hollywood to Nazi Germany due to what he says is an intolerant liberal bias. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Allen explained that “you’ve gotta be real careful” in Hollywood when espousing a conservative viewpoint. “You get beat up if you don’t believe what everybody believes. This is like ’30s Germany.”

“I don’t know what happened. If you’re not part of the group, ‘You know what we believe is right,’ I go, ‘Well, I might have a problem with that.’ I’m a comedian, I like going on both sides.”

Famous for having the lead role in the 1990s series Home Improvement, Allen’s comments come not long after his latest television program was canceled after six seasons.

Last week, ABC announced that they canceled Last Man Standing though it was a steady performer in the ratings. The program was generally viewed as having a conservative message to its content.

While other, more liberal shows were also discontinued by ABC, many looked at the refusal to grant Last Man Standing a seventh season as suspicious and possibly an attack on conservatives.

“If comedy ‘remains a priority’ for the network, as it said on Tuesday’s call, why would it cancel its second-highest rated comedy series?” asked Breitbart.com.

“Is there any other show in history that has not only retained its audience but has beaten most other comedies of its type that has been canceled as abruptly? Ever?”

Others, however, including one column on The Daily Banter, argue that the decision to cancel Allen’s show had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with good business practice.

“According to Vox, the show was getting increasingly expensive with each season, and it was popular with audience members over 50, which isn’t the most profitable advertising demographic,” read the column.

“On top of that, ABC’s recent acquisition of American Idol blew a sizable hole through their programming budget and schedule forcing them to ax several other shows as well.”

ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey said they had to make “tough calls” and “cancel shows that we’d otherwise love to stay on the air.”

“Last Man Standing was a challenging one for me because it was a steady performer in the ratings. But once we made the decision not to continue with comedies on Friday, that was where we landed,” he said.

Several online petitions were created demanding that the show be returned for a seventh season, including one on change.com that as of Monday afternoon had over 380,000 signatories.

“I will no longer be watching any ABC shows. I have canceled the DVR settings for the other ABC shows that I regularly watch. If you want to help try to save Last Man Standing, I encourage you to do the same,” read the petition.

About the Author

Michael Gryboski is a writer for The Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report: First Grammy Awards – This Day in 1959

The Grammy Awards have become an American institution. But it hasn’t always been that way. There was a time when there was no such thing as the Grammy Awards. That all changed on this day in history – 58 years ago. Televised by ABC, hosted by Mort Sahl, and held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, the awards night recognized musical accomplishments for 1958. Let’s have fun – these were the winners.

Record of the Year – Domenico Modugno for Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu

Album of the Year – Henry Mancini for The Music from Peter Gunn

Song of the Year – Domenico Modugno for Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu

Best Recording for Children – Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. for The Chipmunk Song

Best Country & Western Performance – The Kingston Trio for Tom Dooley

Best Jazz Performance – Ella Fitzgerald for The Duke of Ellington Songbook

Best Album Cover – Frank Sinatra for Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely

Best Vocal Performance – Perry Como for Catch a Falling Star

Best Performance by a Dance Band – Count Basie for Basie

 

The Rushmore Report: Ailing Glen Campbell Says ‘Adios’

Glen Campbell announced plans to release his final studio album, six years after the country singer was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. “Adios” will cap off the singer’s more than five-decade long career and will include songs Campbell has always wanted to share but never got around to recording. So it is fitting that the 80-year-old star would offer his final good-bye his way – through the music Americans have enjoyed for generations.

Campbell recorded “Adios” in Nashville following the 2012 “Goodbye Tour” which he embarked on after he was first diagnosed with this dreaded disease.

“Glen’s ability to play, sing, and remember songs began to rapidly decline after his diagnosis in 2011,” the singer’s wife Kim Campbell said in a press release. “A feeling of urgency grew to get him into the studio one last time to capture what magic was left. It was now or never.”

The 12-track album will include songs from Campbell’s longtime collaborator Jimmy Webb and a new version of his famous song “Postcard from Paris” with Campbell’s children Cal, Shannon, and Ashley singing the line, “I wish you were here.”

“What you’re hearing when listening to ‘Adios’ is the beautiful and loving culmination of friends and family doing their very best for the man who inspired, raised, and entertained them for decades – giving him the chance to say one last goodbye to his fans, and put one last amazing collection of songs onto the record store shelves,” Kim said.

Campbell’s health has deteriorated greatly since his 2011 diagnosis. His wife revealed in March that the singer can no longer play guitar and struggles to sing.

Kim continued, “Faith has always been the central part of our relationship. I’m so pleased that as Glen has entered the later stages of this illness, it’s evident that he has retained his awareness of God. That really comforts me to know that he has that sense of God’s presence in his life, that he’s not alone.”