Five Chosen Thoughts Under the Fedora

The 2nd season finale of the Chosen was released on Sunday. It ended on a bit of a cliffhanger which was a bit of a surprise but it was very well done and a great setup for the start of next season. The ending also suggests that a good part of the 3rd season premiere is already filmed.

The quality of this show is setting a high bar for any kind of Christian television that will follow.


One of the things that I really enjoy about the series is the conflicts between the disciples. Different thoughts, different styles that clash. Many times people forget that the disciples of Christ were regular people who had different lives and different perspectives and that those perspectives weren’t always going to mesh.

That is the thing about Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in particular, it brings together different people from different perspectives in a unity that is Christ.


An oddity of the series is how much is not is scripture. A great example is Season two episode 3 which is based on a single verse from Matthew, most of the episode is about the interaction between the disciples and Mary the mother of God of which we know nothing. Other episodes like the Wedding at Cana (Season 1 episode 5) which is based on scripture also provides a backstory to Thomas that we don’t know, while practically the entire first season gives a backstory to Matthew before his call.

All of it is logical and even plausible and great television, but is not scriptural. That doesn’t make it bad or evil but none of this should be considered a substitute for actual scripture. Of course given that so much of the public knows less about scripture than a disinterested person would have known a century ago it might be a very important introduction to it.


As a Catholic I’ve been particularly impressed how Mary is being portrayed. Being a widow with only one son it makes a lot of sense that she would be traveling with her son who would be her source of support. There are several key moments that really stand out as a Catholic one in particular in that finale encapsulated in this image from the show:

The disciples are out informing the people of the upcoming sermon on the mount and who does Mary approach? The man who is seemingly the lowest and the poorest and the least.

I don’t know if this is a marketing strategy to attract Catholics of if it comes from the actor who plays Christ (who is VERY Catholic) but given that this is written by the son the the author of the very Protestant Left Behind series I find it rather significant.


Finally as you might or might not know the show is crowdfunded. Last week the cost per episode of Season three went up from 1.875 Mil to 2.25 Mil about a $400K increase. I’m sure part of it is a raise for the actors who have certainly earned it and with a regular cast of 18 in every episode (12 disciples, Mary and the women plus Christ) plus the incidental regulars who you want to lock up for the next five season I suspect these costs will only rise.

DaWife bought a T-Shirt but I’m holding back myself until I see how they handle John Chapter Six (the bread of life discourses). As my own Pastor notes almost all “Jesus” movies skip over this because how they handle the question of the Eucharist will determine if this series is worth my cash to support.

I think the real conflict will be how the very vey catholic Johnathan Roumie as Christ will do with what the very protestant Dallas Jenkins writes for him or if they will work together to handle this.

I don’t know when this is coming, it might be season three but it might also wait till season 4 but it is coming and will be for me the moment of truth.

Opinions on Haiti, Woke Raytheon, A Matter of Honor, Catholics Demanding Refunds and a name for What’s been happening to my wife Under the Fedora

Saw this at Don Surber’s site this morning on the assignation of the president of Haiti:

Why do I get the feeling the Clintons and their fake foundation are entangled in this mess?

Maybe it wasn’t an assassination.

Maybe it was Arkancide.

My best friend at work is a 70 year old Hattian man who is a naturalized citizen. When I asked him about the assassination last week he offered a similar opinion on what happened over there.


My first employer out of college was Raytheon and I worked there with secret clearance for three years during the climax of the cold war (until I opened my comic book store). now I’m thinking that I might want to take that off my resume after this:

ATTENTION EMPLOYEES, MOVE OUT OF THE WAY BY GETTING ANOTHER JOB NOW:  Raytheon CRT Training: White Employees “must work on ‘recognizing [their] privilege’ and ‘step aside’ for minorities”.

The company will then go the way of every company that hires for reasons other than competence. And they deserve it.

As this is a defense contractor as long as the left has power their bottom line is not endangered but I’ll bet a lot of 80 year old Russian spies are wishing they had managed to pull this off 30 years earlier.


My favorite show when I was seven years old was the Richard Greene series The Adventures of Robin Hood which was televised on WMUR about 30 minutes before I had to wake up for school. While they had it on the air I never was late getting up.

I was reminded of the show or rather a particular line I saw this story out of Boston:

Judge William Young has just announced in court that he is withdrawing the Opinion he issued dismissing the case brought by a Boston parents group over the so-called Boston “Zip Code Quota Plan.” For background see our posts:

The key bit:

“This was my opinion, my signature’s on it, I was misled”

“The opinion is wrong, it’s wrong because the facts on which it was based … an opinion I issued under my signature is factually incorrect”

“I’m inclined to withdraw the opinion, I’ve never done that [before in 35 years]”

“I work very hard on my opinions, and this one’s no good.”

The clerk will enter the note: “The opinion entered in this case is withdrawn on the ground the court is satisfied it is factually inaccurate in certain material effects.”

Any judge appointed in Massachusetts over the last 35 years is likely a liberal but a person of that age might not like the idea of their personal honor being tarnished. In the old days even a villains didn’t want to be seen as breaking their word in public.

Give it a few years more and I’m sure the state with only those brought up woke to choose from will not have to worry about this problem again.


One of the things I constantly argue is that things will not change until there are consequences for the left, like this:

Anthony and Barbara Scarpo noted how the Academy of the Holy Names in Tampa even named its auditorium “Scarpo Family Theatre” after their huge pledge in 2017, saying they were helping it raise $9 million in total.

But now the parents want their money back — including tuition paid for their two daughters — in outrage at how the school turned its back on Catholicism to go “woke,” their 13-count, 45-page lawsuit claims.

The Scarpos claim they were betrayed by the school suddenly “embracing the new, politically correct, divisive and ‘woke’ culture where gender identity, human sexuality, and pregnancy termination among other ‘hot-button issues,’ took center stage,” the lawsuit said.

I couldn’t help but remember when my oldest had been offered a big scholarship at the Anna Maria College but when we visited it it turned out to be “Catholic” in name and fundraising only (although the president in response to my letter to the bishop claimed otherwise. Which thanks to this story turned into yesterday’s lead post twelve years later.

A lot of catholic institutions make a lot of money off of donors who don’t know that their Catholic identity is only visible when asking them for checks.


Finally I just got this link via email concerning Long Haul COVID-19 Syndrome (LHCS) a sample:

The Long Haul COVID-19 Syndrome (LHCS) is an often debilitating syndrome characterized by a multitude of symptoms such as prolonged malaise, headaches, generalized fatigue, sleep difficulties, smell disorder, decreased appetite, painful joints, dyspnea, chest pain and cognitive dysfunction. The incidence of symptoms after COVID-19 varies from as low as 10% to as high as 80%. LHCS is not only seen after the COVID-19 infection but it is being observed in some people that have received vaccines (likely due to monocyte activation by the spike protein from the vaccine). A puzzling feature of the LHCS syndrome is that it is not predicted by initial disease severity; post-COVID-19 frequently affects mild-to-moderate cases and younger adults that did not require respiratory support or intensive care.

The symptom set of LHCS in the majority of cases is very similar to the chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS)/myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, although in LHCS, symptoms tend to improve slowly in the majority of the cases. Furthermore, the similarity between the mast cell activation syndrome and LHCS has been observed, and many consider post-COVID-19 to be a variant of the mast cell activation syndrome. LHCS is highly heterogenous and likely results from a variety of pathogenetic mechanisms. Furthermore, it is likely that delayed treatment (with ivermectin) in the early symptomatic phase will result in a high viral load, which increases the risk and severity of LHCS.

This describes what happened to my wife (who is still out of work since March and things are starting to get tight around here) perfectly. But I note that some people who have gotten this because of the vaccines.

Now I don’t blame the developers, these vaccines were done in a hurry because of the emergency and this was a new disease but it’s one more thing to consider when deciding if you want to get the shot or not.

Having already had COVID I don’t see the need myself, I’ve already got the antibodies.

Five Thoughts about The Chosen Under the Fedora

I’ve been watching the TV series “The Chosen” which incidentally is the only TV series I watch these days and have a few thoughts.

The latest episode is Episode seven, of season two and next to episode 2 of season 1 is likely the least biblical (that is the most dramatized) episode of the series. As we Catholics are not sola scripture this doesn’t offend me as much as it bothers some others but I found everything in the episode extremely plausible, particularly the idea that the local Roman authorities would have an interest in Christ when he’s drawing large crowds. The meeting between Jesus and Quintus is one of my favorite scenes in the entire series.


While some might disagree I as a daily Mass Catholic particularly like how Mary has been portrayed. She is very much humanized, which is important as is in fact human and did in fact live the life of a 1st century AD Jewish woman. What many likely do not catch is the idea that she would travel with the disciples makes a lot of sense as being a widow with no other children her son would be her only support and don’t think I didn’t notice that when Mary Magdalene fell and was afraid to face Jesus it was Mary the Mother of God who brought her in the tent and stood with her.

You don’t get more Catholic then that.


A lot of people apparently took issue with the fall and return of Mary Magdalene and it’s the one thing that the creator Dallas Jenkins really took issue with. He gives Jesus this classic line: “You thought you were never going to sin again?” As Father Z put it when talking about how to deal with a couple not married licitly:

Or course there may be times when they fail in their determination to live in continence and they have sexual relations.

What then?

Simple.  They go to confession and start over with a firm purpose of amendment.

That’s what we all do when we sin in any way.  We go to confession with a firm purpose of amendment and start over with God’s help.

Again this is very Catholic and is almost a dramatization of the first sacramental confession as there she was before Christ and receiving absolution


There is no release date for the season finale yet (at least not to my knowledge) but the thing I’m most waiting for is the introduction of Judas.

How they decide to play Judas is going to be I suspect the toughest thing they do because while John in his Gospel notes him as a thief he was still not just a disciple but an apostle in good standing right up until the last supper.

How he is portrayed and what kind of backstory they give him will be interesting. All the disciples have been humanized and in some ways sympathized but it will be very hard to do so with Judas when everyone knows what’s coming in the end. Furthermore in every scene that he’s in people will be looking for and seeing the signs of the betrayal.

Will we see Judas as the Betrayer from day one or Judas as the disciple who in the end doesn’t seek the forgiveness that Mary did in season two or that Simon Peter will have to in the final season?

That the big question mark for the remaining seasons to me.


The crowd funding for season three seems to be stuck at episode five, which is about a half million away from what they need to finish the season (They’re looking for 1.875 mill to cover all eight episodes). I suspect that it’s because this season we’re seeing more conflict both within and without and this might be turning off a few people. Still with an avg contribution of about $30 bucks a head the 1.3 mil they’ve raised isn’t chicken feed but it also means they need about 20K people to kick in to finish things off. While I recommend this show to others I’m holding off the cash spigot for two reasons:

  1. Money has been rather tight with DaWife’s illness this year
  2. I want to see what they do with John 6

It will be very interesting to see the conflict between a very devout Catholic actor who plays Jesus and a very Protestant team that’s writing and producing the series handles the bread of life discourses. Most biblical movies duck it. I don’t see how that’s done given the episodic nature of the series.

But what I think really hurts the fund raising are all the “chosen commentary” things on Youtube that are drawing potential “pay it forward” people away from the site and app that offers it free anyways.

Review: Season Two of Ragnarok

By John Ruberry

Late last week Season Two of Ragnarok began streaming on Netflix. The Norwegian series presents a modern telling of the ultimate battle, Ragnarök, between the Norse gods and their enemies, the jötunn, evil deities who are usually called giants in English. It is set in the fictional small fjord town of Edda, which is being poisoned by the town’s largest employer, Jutul Industries. The company is run by Vidar Jutul (Gísli Örn Garðarsson), the head of the jötunn quasi-family. His wife, Ran (Synnøve Macody Lund), is the principal of Edda High School, which Magne Seier (David Stakson) and his brother, Laurits (Jonas Strand Gravli), attend. Also students there are two other Jutuls, Saxa (Theresa Frostad Eggesbø) and Fjor (Herman Tømmeraas).

In Season One, my DTG review is here, teenager Magne suspects he is the rebirth of Thor. Yes, he’s another “chosen one.” In the final episode of that season, while Laurits humiliates Ran in a public address, Magne confronts Vidar in a battle. 

The second season picks up where the first ends. Somewhat diminished this season is the teen love anxiety–while the Norse mythology is elevated. There are few scenes at the high school. So there is a bit less of a Twilight feel this time around.

Laurits is a prankster so if you know a little bit about the Norse gods, you should have suspected in the first season that he is a modern representation of Loki, the mischievous god. Reluctantly and by happenstance, as Jake and Elwood did in The Blues Brothers, Magne is “putting the back back together,” and that includes Wotan Wagner (Bjørn Sundquist), Edda’s Odin, and Harry (Benjamin Helstad) as the militaristic god Týr. Edda is multicultural, so it’s not surprising that an immigrant from Sri Lanka, Iman (Danu Sunth), achieves goddess status as Frigg, a clairvoyant.

The powers–and the alliances–of the gods and the jötunn as told in Norse mythology are complicated–as they are here. So are the romances, particularly the one with Fjor and a human, Gry (Emma Bones).

According to the myths Loki was a shape shifter–that is not shown here–and some of those tales of the trickster god involve gender fluidity. Laurits is unsure of his gender–but more certain of his sexuality. Oh, there is also a brief sensual scene with two women.

All through Season Two the government is investigating the environmental devestatation Jutul Industries brings to Edda–as well as the company’s financial improprieties. 

Magne and Laurits’ mother, Turid (Henriette Steenstrup), does her best in keeping the family together while struggling with poverty and of course, raising two teen sons who are conflicted gods. 

The final episode, the sixth–Season One is also consists just six entries–brings forth another climactic confrontation. The door is open for a third season of Ragnarok and I’ll be back if there is. Although to be honest I probably would have lost interest during Season One has their not been a mythological foundation for the series. As of this writing Ragnarok is a Top Ten series on Netflix.

The streaming service gives viewers the option of watching Ragnarok in dubbed English or in Norwegian with English subtitles. There are also some passages, dubbed of course, in Old Norse. 

Season Two of Ragnarok is rated TV-MA because of foul language (and gasp!) smoking. In reality the series is more like a PG-13 movie in regards to possibly objectionable content. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Review: Season 1 of Shadow and Bone

By John Ruberry

Throughout the late 1960s and 1970s there was the hope, egged on by the music media, that soon “the next Beatles” would arrive. The Bee Gees, Badfinger, and the Knack were among those acts who failed to match the hype. And no band could match the Beatles’ level because even when they were together they were already legends. 

In that same time period there were even more “next Bob Dylans” heralded.

No one can supercede a legend.

Late last month the first season of Shadow and Bone began streaming on Netflix. 

And many are wondering if Shadow and Bone is the next Game of Thrones

Short answer? No. Longer answer? Not even close. And as HBO’s Game of Thrones has entered the world of legend, Shadow and Bone doesn’t have a chance. 

Call me sadistic, but I knew in the first episode of GoT, “Winter Is Coming,” that here was a series that broke the mold when Jamie Lannister pushed young Bran Stark from a high window ledge so to hide his sexual relationship with his sister, Cersei.

With Shadow and Bone you are exposed to an eight-episode muddled mess. 

The show is based on a trilogy of high fantasy books by Leigh Bardugo, and there are elements from two of her other works thrown in too. To understand what is going on you it seems you have to read all of these books first. And I’ve read none of them.

“Students,” I can see a teacher announcing, “your assigment is to read five books and then, only then, watch Shadow and Bone.” Uh, no.

The alternate world of Shadow and Bone is largely based on Russia of the late 19th century. The costume designers make the most of it and they deserve an Emmy nomination for their efforts. Soldiers wear fur ushankas and papakhas. Women don ornate dresses, the heads of civilian males are often topped with bowlers. While GoT and Lord of the Rings is rooted in the Middle Ages of western Europe, viewers here find themselves in the Russia of the Industrial Revolution. There are guns and a train. But no sword battles.

Ravka (Russia) is in the center of the continent and it’s separated by the Fold, a thick cloud wall inhabited by human-eating volcra, who are a cross between griffins and pterodactyls. Spoiler alert: there are no dragons. The Fold was created years earlier by an evil grisha, that is, a magic maker of Ravka. Maybe I’m a dope but it wasn’t until the third episode that I ascertained that the grisha were magicians. They are particularly adept at fire-starting. The grishas make up one of two armies of Ravka.

The central character of Shadow and Bone is Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li), a woman in her late teens and a grisha who is half-Shu Han. The Shu Han nation, which we don’t encounter here, is the show’s version of China and they are enemies of Ravka. To the north is Fjerda, a stand-in for Scandinavia. We see the Fjerdans when they fight the Ravkans.

An orphan–just like Harry Potter and Frodo Baggins–Alina encounters racism because of her foreign looks. She has a puppy love relationship with a fellow orphan, military tracker Malyen “Mal” Oretsev (Archie Renaux), they’ve known each other since childhood. Alina is a mapmaker for the First Army, the non-magical one–and man oh man, could viewers use a decent map here to get a grip on the geography of Shadow and Bone. Only one is briefly shown. More time is devoted to Alina burning maps.

We quickly learn that Alina, like Harry Potter, is a Chosen One. The revelation brings her to a grisha leader, General Kirigan (Ben Barnes), and the capital city of Ravka, where she meets the king, who looks a lot like Czar Alexander III. Alina is declared a Sun Summoner, that’s a really big deal you see, and then begins her training to fully utilize her powers.

Word spreads about Alina–all the way to the island nation of Kerch–which is Shadow and Bone’s version of the Netherlands, complete with its largest city, hedonistic Ketterdam, which parallels another city. Do I really need to spell out which one? We meet three underworld characters there, Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter), Inej Ghafa (Amita Suman), and Jesper Fahey (Kit Young) who leave Ketterdam to kidnap Alina for a one-million kruge reward. The three criminals have an intriguing dynamic and they are more captivating characters than Alina and Mal. 

If you like elaborate clothes, eye-catching special effects, and being transporated to an alternative yet familiar civilization, then Shadow and Bone could be for you. But if you expect fully-developed characters and a coherent plot line, then stay away. 

If magic and the 19th-century interests you then instead I recommend streaming Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell on Amazon. In this series, among other things, the Duke of Wellington is aided by a magician to fight the French during the Napoleonic Wars. 

As for the grisha–if they are so powerful how come they are captured with relative ease?

Shadow and Bone is rated TV-14 for violence, adult situations, and brief nudity.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

A Few Photos and Videos from the Tender Bar Shoot in my neighborhood earlier this month with Ben Affleck and George Clooney

There are the people in my neighborhood

One of the interesting things about having part of a movie shot in your neighborhood is the number of people who turn up, both your neighbors who you end up talking to and people from around the area. While I went outside a couple of times my wife spent most of the day outside getting up very early and taking photos and videos with the camera I usually use for interviews (which have been few and far between due to work and COVID although I had a pair of Catholic ones this week, more on that tomorrow). She pretty much shot a bunch of one minute clips and a fair amount of photos till she came home tired around 2 and crashed. The biggest take away I got from them was that despite the better pay a lot of acting, at least in movies which aren’t on the same deadline as a weekly TV show, is that like any other job there is a fair amount of tedious repetition.

Because she took so many shots I’m only uploading a few plus three videos. Be aware that the date on the Camera was set wrong. While the shoot had been scheduled for the 7th it was actually done on the 8th.

There are plenty more but I think this gives the gist of what is going on with the police controlling the crowd and traffic and the guys in charge letting people know when to be quiet etc.

I figured the Diner would have done pretty well with these folks but alas for Ed because there were three different days when the shooting might have taken place his regulars stayed away those days and he only got a quick burst of business when they called lunch the day of the shooting which didn’t make up for it.

Anyways here are the three videos here is one with a shot of their car pulling out

My wife shot a lot of those, didn’t upload the others since they were pretty much the same. DaWife says they did it about five times. Each time they pull out, when Clooney calls cut Affleck backs up and they get ready to do it again.

Here is another shot of Clooney joking with the kid and Affleck before another shot. This would be just visible from my front yard.

And finally here is a 3rd shot of him directing the kid before another shot and then the shot itself. The antique cars were parked in the neighborhood for about a week before the shoot but then again I’m old enough that to me they don’t seem like antiques they’re just the cars I remember from the 70’s. In fact my 1st two cars were a 67 Barracuda and a 75 Buick LeSabre both convertables.

My chief interest in all of these is how the work is actually done as I’m not experienced in it. Granted it’s not work in the sense that my dad worked or that I or my sons or my wife do but it’s work and it takes them away from their homes for long periods of time. Granted it would have been cool to get Clooney to sign the season 1 of ER that I bought my wife 20+ years ago and my son had hoped to get a Batman comic signed by both as they each (Clooney meh, Affleck actually very good) played the role but there was none of that.

And frankly in an age of cancel culture where people are looking to bring down folks for saying or doing the wrong thing the last thing you really want to do is mix with a bunch of strangers with cameras any one of whom might hold a grudge and be looking to get their 15 min of fame by giving you grief. That realization precludes Jimmy Stewart’s old advice to Raquel Welch about fans and autographs these days and must be a pain in the neck, particularly if someone happens to be affable by nature who previously enjoyed meeting the fans.

At least the pay is good.

As I said there are a lot more pictures and a lot more video but they seem too repetitive to upload to youtube and given how close to the vest things have been around here I can’t justify the extra bandwidth charges to put them all up. Feel free to hit DaTipJar to offset those costs.

Satire: Mafia Families and the Priests that Serve them deride Vatican’s Continued Stance against Murder, Theft & Prostitution

Members of the Cosa Nostra were united in their disappointment that the Vatican has not changed their stance concerning the sinfulness of murder, theft and prostitution.

“It’s a real cultural problem.” said a spokesman for the Bocce crime family. “Don Giuseppe was saying just the other day that the church’s stance unfairly stigmatizes people whose culture, tradition and inclination. has steered them in this direction for centuries.”

“It’s a terrible disappointment.” said Fr. Mel A Stophilies of Angel of Light Parish and the unofficial chaplain to the Polenta family. “Why just the other day Dona Polenta was talking about how Pope Francis’ attacks on the mafia had affected her 14 year old grandson who has dreamed of entering the family business since he was five and has just started his career as a runner: ‘Does the Vatican understand what his can do to a 14 year old just staring in the rackets? It can destroy him'”

At the business of Dino and Luigi Vercotti they echoed this statement noting that on the local level their priest have been more supportive.

“At our parish they have been much more caring toward the women in our business just trying to make a living.” Said Dino Vercotti in between answering calls for appointments, “In fact our parish priest Fr. Heretic has been using a more compassionate translation of scripture where Jesus tells the woman caught in adultery in John 9:11: ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now that’s not sin any more.’ It’s really made both our girls and their customers feel better about themselves.”

In Philadelphia some locals still expressed hope that the Vatican will see the light on these things.

“If the church is going to be part of the world and not hated they need to change with the times and recognize that the acceptance of things like adultery, theft and the occasional murder (as long as it doesn’t cross the wrong racial lines) is where society is.” said Fr. Morty Sine “After all if they took those lessons to heart have spent hours filling in and delivering ballots in the wee hours after election day? If they hadn’t done that Rome would not have been able to celebrate the election of only the 2nd Catholic president of the United States.”

“After all one man’s sin is another’s way of life.” said Fr Terr. I know our parish has greatly benefited from the support we have given the local families and I’m sure eventually the Church will see the advantages of such an arrangement.

An appreciation of The Divine Comedy band

By John Ruberry

Listening to music is a serendipitous adventure. And it was on one of those journeys I uncovered another great band that you’ve probably never heard of, The Divine Comedy. Last year before the post was swallowed up by a memory hole at Da Tech Guy, I profiled another undeservedly unknown band, the Rainmakers. Only I first encountered the Rainmakers on a local radio station years ago.

I discovered The Divine Comedy when I downloaded the “Inspired by the Kinks” compilation on Apple iTunes. A great collection, yes, and easily the standout cut for me was “The National Express,” a satirical look at a ride on the eponymous company’s bus line.

Unknown? As this is an American blog with, I believe, a predominately American readership, that’s true. But The Divine Comedy has scored hits in Europe, particularly in Great Britain and Ireland, which is understandable as the band’s only constant member is Neil Hannon, who is from Northern Ireland.

As great as “The National Express” is, there’s just one small issue in my opinion. I’m a huge Kinks fan, but unless you count that British band’s last big hit, “Come Dancing,” it doesn’t sound like any other Kinks tune.

Listen for yourself!

The Divine Comedy’s first album, since cancelled by Hannon, was the R.E.M. inspired Fanfare for the Comic Muse, which was released in 1990. The only place it seems to be available is on YouTube. If you somehow find a copy of it at a rummage sale or used record store, grab it if it’s priced cheap, as it is probably a collector’s item.

The band then “regenerated” three years later into a chamber pop, or if you prefer Britpop band, for Liberation. Actually I prefer the moniker baroque pop. Regardless of the name, what kind of music am I talking about? Think along the lines of “Penny Lane” by the Beatles, “Senses Working Overtime” or “Easter Theatre” by XTC, or “Never My Love” by The Association, the glimmering song that was used with such beautiful yet chilling effect in the final episode of the most recent season of Outlander. Oh, throw in a bit of Cole Porter too. Back to Liberation: My favorite song from that collection is “The Pop Singer’s Fear of the Pollen Count,” which is cleary inspired by the Beach Boys. Yes, I suffer from allergies too so I can commiserate.

Hannon, who writes nearly all of the band’s songs, is a clever lyricist who brings wit and even snarkiness to many of his songs. The Divine Comedy’s melodies are striking and the musicianship is superb.

Here’s a snippet from “Catherine the Great.”

With her military might
She could defeat anyone that she liked
And she looked so bloody good on a horse
They couldn’t wait
For her to invade
Catherine the Great.

Yes, there is a sly reference here to the historical gossip that the Empress of Russia died from a mishap during carnal relations with a stallion.

“The Frog Princess” incorporates strains of “La Marseillaise” into it.

One more Divine Comedy favorite of mine is “Gin Soaked Boy” from the 1999 compilation A Secret History…The Best of the Divine Comedy, which might be good place for you to see if The Divine Comedy is for you. Or you can begin as I did on Apple Music with their “Essentials” and “Next Steps” collections.

Of the band’s dozen studio albums Fin de Siècle, which contains “The National Express,” is my favorite. If you prefer to see what the Divine Comedy is up to now, its latest album is Office Politics. The track I enjoy the most on this collection is “Philip and Steve’s Furniture Removal Company.” It’s about a proposed sitcom and its theme song, both devised by Hannon, in which minimalist classical composers, Philip Glass and Steve Reich, operate a furniture removal business in the 1960s in New York.

Silly? Of course. Brilliant? Definitely.

Oh yes, I said “regenerated” earlier. Regeneration is the title of the Divine Comedy’s 2001 album. Perhaps not coincidentally Hannon contributed a couple of solo tracks, “Song for Ten” and “Love Don’t Roam” to Doctor Who: Original Television Soundtrack from 2006.

In addition to Apple Music works by The Divine Comedy are also available on Amazon.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Review: The Liberator on Netflix

By John Ruberry

By John Ruberry

Lost among the fallout after the presidential election was the debut of a compelling four-episode on Netflix, The Liberator. It tells of exploits of the leadership of Felix Sparks (Bradley James), who eventually reached the rank of lieutenant colonel, of the 3rd Battalion of the 157th Infantry Regiment in the European theater of World War II. Yes, for the most part, this is a true story.

The series which began streaming on Veterans Day, is animated and it uses the new technique of Trioscope, which combines live action and computer and manually created images. The series is based on Alex Kershaw’s book The Liberator: One World War II Soldier’s 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau. It’s a huge improvement over rotoscoping, most famously, or notoriously used in the first feature film version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings, which was directed by Ralph Bakshi. The animation is grainy with a touch of sepia, the latter hue of course is common in films set in first half of the 20th century.

For the most part, The Liberator avoids hackneyed plotlines and characters of many World War II projects, other then sepia. There is no “Guy From Brooklyn” in it. But here is a soldier from Chicago, who of course is a Cubs fan. Fact: real and fictional characters from in television and movies are never White Sox fans, unless, as in Field Of Dreams, the South Siders are central to the plot. Oh well, to be fair it was the Cubs, not the White Sox, who played in the World Series in 1945.

When Lieutenant Sparks arrives at Fort Sill in Oklahoma shortly before America’s entry into World War II, he’s given command of “Company J,” which consists of soldiers locked up in the stockade. These ragtag men are a mix of Mexican Americans, Native Americans, and cowboys. 

It’s a tough command, “The Indians and the Mexicans don’t like each other very much,” a jail guard tells Sparks. “And they hate us more.”

But Sparks is looking for fighters, not divisiveness. He and molds them–even though the Native Americans and Mexicans can’t enter a bar off base in Oklahoma. In Italy a captured member of the Thunderbirds is confronted with this irony by a German officer. 

During its two years in Europe, in addition to the invasion of Sicily and the liberation of Dachau, but also the invasion of southern France, as well as the Battle of the Vosges near the German border, and finally fighting in Bavaria, the 157th Infantry Regiment encountered over 500 days of combat. Sure there are arguments and spats among the soldiers. People never always get along. But the soldiers form an effective fighting unit. 

The German troops are treated relatively sympathetically in The Liberator, but only up to a point as the Thunderbirds later of course liberate Dachau.

The supporting cast is superb, particulary the performance of Martin Sensmeier as Sergeant Samuel Coldfoot and Jose Miguel Vasquez as Corporal Able Gomez, two composite characters.

Originally The Liberator was intended as a live action miniseries for A&E Studios for the History Channel but filming such a project in so many disparate locales, the plains of Oklahoma, Italy, the Mediterranean coast, the Vosges, and Bavaria, proved financially impossible. Not so much with animation. Which is why The Liberator is probably on the cusp of what we’ll see soon on the big and small screens. And the use of animation in war dramas will spare us motion picture embarrasments such as the desert combat scenes in the 1965 box office flop The Battle Of The Bulge.

The Liberator is currently streaming on Netflix. It is rated TV-MA, although despite depictions of battlefield wounds and the frequent use of profanity–in English and Spanish no less–I’m unsure why. Oh, some people smoke cigarettes in it too. I’m mean c’mon. This is the 1940s!

Tune in and start watching. You’ll be glad for it. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

GERBL SABLE Dynasty Baseball 2019 Sim Season Draft

There is more to life than Democrats creating magic ballots to steal the republic thus crisis or no our Sable / Gerbel face to face tabletop baseball lead held our draft on Saturday.

The Draft order was determined by last years record and draft picks for the 1st five rounds were eligible to trade. Teams were able to retain from 6 to 16 of their previous players and then drafted till they held 35.

Drafting TeamPlayerMLB TeamPositionC ?SP ?RP ?
Round 1
San DiegoBrett SutterMILLRx
SeattleEmilio Pagan TBSRx
Tampa BayMarcus SimeonOAKSS
San FranciscoTyler GlasnowTBSPx
WashingtonJavier BaezChCSS
NYYMichael BrantleyHOULF
St. LouisGerman MarquezCOLSPx
ColoradoDarvishChCSPx
Round 2
San DiegoAaron BummerChCLRx
SeattleDavid FletcherANA3B
Tampa BayVictor RoblesWSHCF
San FranciscoZach GallenARISPx
WashingtonLorenzo CainMILCF
NYYRoberto PerezCLECatx
Tampa BayRoman LaurenoOAKCF
ColoradoCharlie MortonTBSPx
Round 3
San DiegoCasey SadlerLADLRx
SeattleMax KeplarMINRF
Tampa BayHowie KendrickWSH1B
San FranciscoRyuLADSPx
Tampa BayPettitTBLRx
Tampa BayOliver DrakeTBLRx
St. LouisStarling MartePITCF
Tampa BayLucas GiolitoCWSSPx
Round 4
San DiegoMark MelanconATLRPx
SeattleAlex GordanKCLF
Tampa BayWilson ConterasCHCCx
San FranciscoJosh HaderMILRPx
WashingtonYadier MolinaStLCx
NYYJustin TurnerLAD3B
St. LouisChristian VazquezBOSCx
ColoradoEugenio SuarezCIN3B
Round 5
San DiegoTony WaltersCOLCx
SeattleMatt ChapmanOAK3B
Tampa BayJosh BellPIT1B
San FranciscoTyler DuffyMINSRx
WashingtonWhit MerrifieldKC2B
NYYCory SeagerLADSS
Tampa BayAndrelton SimmonsANASS
Tampa BayManny MachadoSD3B
Round 6
San DiegoYolmer SanchezCWS2B
SeattleMaillex SmithSEACF
Tampa BayBuster PoseySFC
San FranciscoDavid DollCOLOF
WashingtonOdorizziMINSPx
NYYSteven StrausbergWSHSPx
St. LouisJoe MusgrovePITSPx
ColoradoAlex CologmeCWSRPx
Round 7
San DiegoPeon BraxtonSEACF
SeattleMiguel RojazMIASS
Tampa BayEdwin EncarnacionNYY1B
San FranciscoBrad PeacockHOUSPx
WashingtonRobby RayARISPx
NYYJonathan VillarBAL2B
St. LouisEric SogardTB2B
ColoradoJorge SolairKCOF
Round 8
San DiegoYuli GurielHOU1B
SeattleRoss StriplingLADLRx
Tampa BayBrandon WorkmanBOSSRx
San FranciscoHanser AlbertoBAL2B
WashingtonDomingo GermanNYYS/RPxx
NYYMike SorokaATLSPx
St. LouisOscar MercadoCLECF
ColoradoDanny SantanaTEX1B
Round 9
San DiegoEvan LongoriaSF3B
SeattleChad GreenNYYLRx
Tampa BayCam BedroisianANARPx
San FranciscoAndrew McCutchenPHIOF
WashingtonGabriel YnoaBALS/RPxx
NYYMarcus StromanNYMSPx
St. LouisEduardo EscobarARI3B
ColoradoHunter RenfroSDOF
Round 10
San DiegoTrevor MayMINRPx
SeattleColin MchughHOUS/RPxx
Tampa BayLiam HendricksOAKSRx
San FranciscoNick WittgrenCLERPx
WashingtonMarcus WaldonBOSLRx
NYYMike ZuninoTBCx
St. LouisMelvis GoloriaKCCx
ColoradoMiguel SanoMIN3B
15 minute break
Round 11
San DiegoCarlos SantanaCLE3B
SeattleTyler ClippardCLERPx
Tampa BayEhire AdranzaMINSS
San FranciscoMitch GarberMINCx
WashingtonSergio RomoMINRPx
NYYZach BrittonNYYRPx
St. LouisJulio UriasLADRPx
ColoradoJames McCannCWSCx
Round 12
San DiegoHunter WoodCLERPx
SeattleAnthony BassSEARPx
Tampa BayDavid PeraltaARILF
San FranciscoKevin NewmanPITSS
WashingtonAnibel SanchezWSHSPx
NYYAlex VerdugoLADOF
St. LouisBrandon KintzlerCHCRPx
ColoradoBilly HamiltonATLOF
Round 13
San DiegoCesar HernandezPHI2B
SeattleKyle SeagerSEA3B
Tampa BayZach PlesacCLESPx
San FranciscoByron BuxtonMINCF
WashingtonKurt SuzukiWSHCx
NYYAlberto MondesiKCSS
St. LouisJose BerriosMINSPx
ColoradoKyle SchwarberCHCLF/Cx
Round 14
San DiegoJose AltuveHOU2B
SeattleDee GordonSEA2B
San FranciscoJosh OsichCWSRPx
WashingtonFrancisco LindorCLE2B
NYYGlaybar TorresNYYss
St. LouisAlbert PujolsANA1B
ColoradoIan HappCHC2B
Round 15
San DiegoVladimer Guerrero Jr. TOR3B
SeattleAdam FrazierPIT2B
San FranciscoBiggioTOR2B
WashingtonDelino DeshieldsTEX2B
NYYScott KingeryPHICF
St. LouisLuis RendikoANA2B
ColoradoStephan CreightonARILRx
Round 16
San DiegoJason HaywardCHCOF
SeattleHarison BaderStLCF
San FranciscoWil HarrisHOURPx
WashingtonKyle FarmerCin2B/Cx
NYYTanakaNYYSPx
St. LouisGreg AllenCLELF
ColoradoMadeaLADS/RPxx
Round 17
San DiegoFrancisco CervelliATLCx
SeattleMichael ConfortoNYMRF
San FranciscoRobinson ChirinosHOUCx
WashingtonAustin HedgesSDCx
NYYRoberto OsunaHOURPx
St. LouisBrian AndersonMIA3B
ColoradoAnthony DesciafaniCINSPx
Round 18
SeattleIsaih Kiner-FalefaTEXC/3Bx
San FranciscoMike CanhaOAKOF
WashingtonAdam PlutkoS/RPxx
NYYPedro BaezLADRPx
St. LouisTrevor BauerCinSPx
ColoradoJoc PetersonLADLF
Round 19
SeattleDaniel VogelbachSEA1B
San FranciscoHunter PenceTexOF
WashingtonWade MileyHOUSPx
NYYScott ObergCOLRPx
St. LouisDaniel MurphyCOL1B
ColoradoLance LynnTEXSPx
15 Minute Break
Round 20
San FranciscoMatt BaumgardnerSFSPx
WashingtonEdwin DiazNYMRPx
NYYDanny SwansonATLSS
St. LouisHector NerisPHIRPx
ColoradoRyan PressleyHOURPx
Round 21
San FranciscoTommy PhanTBLF
WashingtonEric HosmerSD1B
NYYJandal GustaveSFRPx
St. LouisAnsel RoblesANARPx
ColoradoCarson KellyARICx
Round 22
San FranciscoSean DoolittleWSHRPx
WashingtonRyan BraunMILOF
NYYIan Kennedy KCRPx
St. LouisJeff SamargaSFSPx
ColoradoYoan MoncadaCWS3B
Round 23
San FranciscoNikki LobezKC2B
WashingtonJason KitmasCLE2B
NYYAustin MeadowsTBCF
St. LouisJiman ChoiTB1B
ColoradoJordan HicksSTLRPx
Round 24
San FranciscoSevy ZavalaCWSCx
WashingtonColin MoranPIT2B
NYYRowdy TellezTOR1B
St. LouisBrandon DruryTOR3B
ColoradoChristian WalkerARI1B
Round 25
WashingtonChris OwingsBOS2B
NYYBrett GardnerNYYOF
St. LouisJorge PolancoMINSS
ColoradoNoah SindergartenNYMSPx
Round 26
WashingtonLeroy GarciaCWS3B
NYYLuis ServerinoNYYSPx
St. LouisJorge PolancoMINSS
ColoradoHomer BaileyOAKSPx
Round 27
WashingtonEddie Rosario MINOF
ColoradoDede GregoriousNYYSS
Round 28
ColoradoCarlos CarreraHOUSS
Round 29
ColoradoReyesHOURF
Round 30
ColoradoAdrian HowserMILRPx
Round 31
ColoradoShane GreenATLRPx

In addition to the standard draft there was the AA draft. This is a draft of any fringe player (fringe meaning a batter with a % or a pitcher with a spot start rating and no relief rating )

Teams were able to hold the rights to up to five AA players who can not be used this season. Franchises can retain up to five rookies that they already had rights to and then can fill any remaining spots via said draft.

1st Rnd
TeamPlayerPosition
San DiegoJose RodoRPOAK
SeattleChad WalchCMIA
Tampa BayWil SmithCLAD
WashingtonAdam HaseluyCFPHI
NYYBo BichetteOFTOR
St. LouisGenesis CabreraS/RPStL
2nd Rnd
SeattleTim LopesCFSEA
Tampa BayDustin MayRPLAD
WashingtonEmmanuel PlaceRPTEX
NYYAustin RileyLFATL
St. LouisAdam DuvalOF/1BATL
3rd Rnd
SeattleAustin AdamsRPSEA
Tampa BayWendelkenRPOAK
NYYEric KratzCTB
4th Rnd
SeattleMarco Hernandez2BBOS
Tampa BayGonsolinSPLAD
5th Rnd
SeattleTyler AlexanderRPDET
St. Louis also has Sean Manaea

If a player retains “fringe” status the following season a team may keep them on their AA roster. If said player gets fulltime status they must either be kept on their standard 35 man roster or be released.

Opening Day is Black Saturday (Nov 28th) for a 60 game season. Good luck to all.

If you have an interest in joining next year contact us. if we have multiple players interested a short AA season might be possible as a test run to be played at the same time as the regular season using the non-drafted fringe players as a roster.