In this era of potty-mouthed comedians, good clean humor that isn’t cloying is hard to come by. The Red Skeltons and Victor Borges of yesterday would have trouble getting a laugh from today’s jaded audiences, who expect the unexpected, edgy, and outré from their funnymen. Most of us who enjoy a good laugh have gotten used to tolerating “a little” profanity or inappropriate subject matter from our comedians, as long as the coarser material is bleeped out (see: Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show”).
Like most conservatives, Joseph Sobran, enjoyed being a contrarian, flatly contradicting the conventional wisdom, which he liked to describe as "what everybody thinks everybody else thinks." Joe Sobran wasn't "everybody" and he was only too happy to challenge, in his own special way, many of the things that "everybody knows." Things like "You can't turn back the clock."
Today is an important day for New Hampshire Catholics. It is the 75th birthday of Bishop of Manchester John B. McCormack, the former assistant to Bernard Cardinal "I fought the" Law in Boston. Bishop McCormack must, therefore, submit his notice of retirement to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, and for many in the church, that is added reason to sing: "This is the day the Lord has made/ Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
When World War II veteran Ralph Houk, "the major," was a Yankees coach under manager Casey Stengel, Stengel one day gave him a bag of baseballs to hold onto during batting practice, while the "Old Professor" went off to tend to some pregame business. Houk set the bag down a little too close to the box seats and a zealous fan reached over, grabbed it, and ran off with the baseballs.
George Michael Steinbrenner III, the colorful, turbulent, and outspoken owner of the New York Yankees, died Tuesday at age 80, after a massive heart attack. His passing came just nine days after his July 4th birthday and only two days after the team's legendary public address announcer, Bob Sheppard, died at age 99.
Like millions of other baseball fans, I vividly remember the sights and sounds of the first big league game I attended. The journey began early on a Sunday morning with a two-hour train ride from Wallingford, Connecticut, my hometown, to New York City, the capital of the universe. I was ten years old at the time and was making the trip in the company of an adult cousin and his son, a boy of about my age. It was only my second trip to the big city, the first having been a year earlier when I accompanied an aunt and one of her friends on a sightseeing trip, visiting attractions like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. But this trip was even more special. This was a trip to Yankee Stadium.
Now that we are done with three days celebrating — or at least (more or less) observing — Independence Day with cookouts, fireworks, trips to the beach, and possibly even a thought or two about our independence from Great Britain, it might be a good time to turn our minds, however briefly, across "the pond" to jolly old (well, old anyway) England and remember a man who lost his head on this date 475 years ago.
John William Finn, the last survivor of the 15 Navy veterans who received the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, died on May 27 at the Veterans Home of California in Chula Vista. Finn, who retired from the Navy in 1956 with the rank of Lieutenant, was 100 years old.
J.D. Salinger is dead, if you care to know. That's the way the reclusive author might have written his own obituary. Since moving, in 1953, to a 90-acre leafy hillside in rural New Hampshire, Salinger has assiduously avoided even glancing contact with the larger world outside his hermitage.
The impact Oral Roberts had on the latter half of the 20th century was staggering. From a dirt-poor childhood to a ministry that touched hundreds of millions worldwide, Roberts, who passed away on December 15 at age 91, set in motion waves that continue to be felt today.