politics

Sheepdog David Grant’s 19th Annual Academy Awards Contest Results!!!

THE BROADCAST

We live in a very different America than we did last year.  While there has always been angst regarding the Academy Awards acting as a platform for political views, we had never had a sitting president call Meryl Streep “overrated” before.  After her comments at The Golden Globes – which could basically be boiled down to: Please stop bullying Hollywood, foreigners, the press, and handicapped people, Mr. President – Trump supporters vowed to boycott the Oscars.  This shouldn’t be too surprising to anyone who is paying attention.  The right have long derided “the left coast,” and now they finally have an administration eager to end funding to the arts.

A lot of people were expecting heavy political messages this year, and there were a couple.  When Iran’s “The Salesman” won Best Foreign Language Film, a statement was read by the filmmaker, who refused to come to America as long as we have a president that has openly discussed a “Muslim ban.”  While presenting, Gael Garcia Bernal told a truth about how all those in the film industry are migrant workers who go to other countries to craft their work.  And several jokes were made that teased at the division in our country.  Overall, however, it was kind of lite on hardline statements.

Normally I would do a segment entitled “On a Very Special Episode Of…” that goes in depth into the greater theme the broadcast seemed to be on a crusade to discuss, but it fits in so nicely here.  The reality is that they were going for something more mainstream and neutral this year, aiming to please as many people while spreading out the monolog throughout the program and keeping a tight schedule.  It worked pretty well, but it would have been rather unforgettable had Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway not announced La La Land as Best Picture when Moonlight had actually won.

But there were two themes that did come up.

The first was not a new one.  We’ve seen it a lot since 9/11, actually.  And the year that there was controversy surrounding the rise of superhero movies, the perceived decline of films with depth, and fans that were upset that The Dark Knight was snubbed, the Academy went to extra lengths to elevate the films that were actually given the nod, going as far as to have host Hugh Jackman use his Wolverine street-cred to sing a song in his opening monologue about the subject.  Movies are important.  Storytelling is important.  Film is an important industry, not just for the American economy but for the world’s.

The second was only lightly touched on, but it’s exactly what I thought they should have focused on.  You see, in calling for others to boycott the Oscars, the Trumpeters said things like, “Why do we give awards to actors and not the real heroes?”  First, we do, and if it made for good T.V., you better believe they would air it.  It should go without saying that Hollywood is indeed rewarding the best work in their industry, but their industry routinely pays tribute to real-world heroes.  Captain “Sully” Sullenberg.  Desmond Doss.  The hidden figures that put a man on the moon.  People who adopt and raise children.  Not to mention all the real-world heroes in the documentary subjects!  By bringing famed scientist Katherine Johnson, who Taraji P. Henson played in Hidden Figures, onto the stage to a standing ovation, the point was made.

“Movies about the lives of men and women in the history books have long been a staple of storytellers,” Monae told the audience. “Sometimes the names and deeds of the heroes in those films are known to all.”

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THE BEST ACCEPTANCE SPEECH

The best acceptance speech for an Oscar this year was not during this broadcast.  It actually came from Jackie Chan, who won a lifetime achievement award during an earlier ceremony.  You can watch that speech here.

However, if we’re just looking at the televised ceremony, then the winner would be Viola Davis, who extolled the storytellers to “exhume those bodies.”  You can see that here.

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ALSO DEAD:

They always leave people off the memoriam.  This year, the following people were missing:

alexis-arquette

Alexis Arquette (actor)

florence-henderson

Florence Henderson (actor)

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Dan Ireland (producer)

Jon Polito.jpg

Jon Polito (actor)

GALLERY

Dorris Roberts (actor)

gary-shandling

Garry Shandling (actor, comedian)

robert-vaughn

Robert Vaughn (actor)

 

NOT DEAD:

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Producer, Jan Chapman, whose picture was mistakenly used for costume designer Janet Patterson.

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A SPECIAL TRIBUTE:

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Known for The White Shadow, 1776, Rambo, 30 Rock, and 105 other credits, Ken Howard was also the President of SAG/AFTRA, Chancellor of the National Kidney Foundation, a board member of the Los Angeles Alzheimer’s Committee, a board member of Shambala Animal Preserve, and a national spokesperson for the Onyx and Breezy Foundation.  I had the pleasure of knowing him a little during my tenure at Kent State. He was attending the graduate program and taught a few classes that I was in. He coached me in a couple of monologues.  He was a no-nonsense kind of guy that was very particular about what he considered good acting.  He ended one class with an open q & a. The rest of the class kind of waited, unsure of what to ask and looking to each other to break the ice. I put my hand up right away and asked him about working with Sylvester Stallone.  He chuckled and told a few good-natured stories.  That got things going.

RIP, Ken.

 

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MY FAVORITE PART OF THE SHOW

Bringing his favorite running gag from his late night show to the Academy Awards broadcast, Jimmy Kimmel made a lot of jokes at Matt Damon’s expense.  He has been his supposed arch-nemesis ever since he ended an episode with bad guests by quipping, “My apologies to Matt Damon.  We ran out of time.”  Upping the ante, former girlfriend Sarah Silverman surprised Jimmy with a music video for “I’m F#$%ing Matt Damon” and then taking it to a whole new level with his own response, “I’m F@#$ing Ben Affleck,” the fake-feud has led to a lot of great TV moments.

So. . .  After the insane confusion with the Best Picture mix-up, I had a lot of fun with my live Tweets.

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SCORE BOARD:

0 Correct Answers 0%
Nobody  
1 Correct Answer 4.1666%
Nobody  
2 Correct Answers 8.333%
Nobody  
3 Correct Answers 12.4999%
Nobody  
4 Correct Answers 16.666%
Tarah Hamilton  
5 Correct Answers 20.8333%
Nobody  
6 Correct Answers 24.999%
Elizabeth “E.J.” Jackson  
7 Correct Answers 29.1666%
Matt Ratz  
8 Correct Answers 33.333%
Jamie Mank  
Ann Murdock  
9 Correct Answers 37.4999%
Nobody  
10 Correct Answers 41.666%
Mike Maletic  
Leigh Ann Spratt  
11 Correct Answers 45.8333%
“Shawny” Shawn Page  
12 Correct Answers 49.999%
Regan Page  
David Shoemaker  
13 Correct Answers 54.1666%
Brian Stevens  
14 Correct Answers 58.333%
Victoria Leduc  
15 Correct Answers 62.4999%
David Grant  
Stella Ingram  
16 Correct Answers 66.666%
???????  
17 Correct Answers 70.8333%
Nobody  
18 Correct Answers 74.999%
Nobody  
19 Correct Answers 79.1666%
Nobody  
20 Correct Answers 83.333%
Nobody  
21 Correct Answers 87.4999%
Nobody  
22 Correct Answers 91.666%
Nobody  
23 Correct Answers 95.8333%
Nobody  
24 Correct Answers 100%
Nobody  

 

WALL OF FAME

1999 – Elizabeth Grant

2000 – Eric Fox

2001 – Jillaine Gill

2002 – Eric Fox, Nate Hodges, and Drew Lerman– 13 correct guesses (no tie breaker)

2003 – Eric Fox– 15 correct guesses

2004 – Kevin Schwendeman– 20 correct guesses

2005 – Nate Hodges– 16 correct guesses

2006 – Jes Antolik and Leigh Ann Spratt — 14 correct guesses (Leigh Ann won the tie breaker)

2007 – Jillaine Gill — 16 correct guesses

2008 – Rock Shaink Jr — 14 correct guesses

2009 – Benjamin Crusoe — 18 correct guesses

2010 – Holly Elswick — 17 correct guesses

2011 – Elizabeth Grant — 17 correct guesses

2012 – Christian Hodges and Kevin Schwendeman — 18 correct guesses (Christian won the tie breaker)

2013 – Sheepdog David Grant — 19 correct guesses

2014 – Sheepdog David Grant — 21 correct guesses

2015 – Brian Stevens — 20 correct guesses

2016 – Holly Elswick and Brian Stevens — 17 correct guesses

 

AND THE WINNER IS…

With 16 correct guesses…

 

holly-elswick

Holly Elswick!!!

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A Startling Conversation about Gays and God

The following conversation was initiated by a facebook post.

Here it is:

Okay. . . I really didn’t want to get pulled into a maelstrom associated with a reality TV version of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” but I do have one thought no one else seems to be voicing.

Why defend a person’s rights to have a job as a television role model for their religious beliefs but try to keep the president out of office over his pastor’s religious beliefs?

Seems hypocritical to the extreme.

And here’s the conversation.  I posted it (censoring out the poster’s name), because I feel there is value to be found in the dialogue.

Enjoy!

HIM: Let’s have the discussion here so you get what I’m saying.

ME: Okay.

HIM: Is kleptomania wrong?

ME: It’s a psychological disorder.

HIM: Is it wrong to be a kleptomaniac?

ME: It’s a sin to steal. Whether kleptomania is “wrong” or not is not up to me to judge. It’s a deeply rooted disorder that leaves the person with almost no ability to control the distance between impulse and action.

HIM: It is wrong to steal. Islets not “sin” to be a klepto. It is wrong to act in kleptomania. Christians believe the same thing with homosexuality.

I don’t hate or fear homosexuals just as I don’t hate or fear kleptos. Most are fine upstanding human beings that I’m taught to love as brothers.

Being a Christian no sin is worse than another. So a gay Christian who proudly sins is like a klepto who proudly steals.

ME: I know what Christians believe, man. I’m a preacher’s kid and a Christian. I’ve read the book from cover to cover. I have a personal walk with Christ.

HIM: So why are you having such a difficult time understanding me or Phil robertsons point of view? You are being just as intolerant.

ME: I don’t understand any point of view that places me (as a Christian) above any other person who also was born into sin and is in desperate need of God’s mercy. THAT is the complete opposite of the example Christ set for us.

HIM: Fuck David. You aren’t even listening

ME: Could you imagine the red ink in the Bible looking like what Robertson said?

If it had, I would say you have a point. Instead what I see is the church focusing on homosexuality as though it’s THE sin. And by doing so, they’ve all but put up a veil between those particular sinners and an opportunity to find God.

HIM: Sin is sin. Bible instructs homosexuality is sin. So why do you think he is judging? He is basing beliefs on the book if God he wants people to walk in the good light of god by turning from sin. You don’t pick and choose sin above or beneath another.

ME: Exactly!! So how does sin “begin with homosexuality and morph from there”?

HIM: Morph the conversation. Not sin in general

ME: Dude, the church has done so much damage to the gay community that it will have to pay for in the end. We’ve all but damned these people to hell!

When you ask a Christian what they think at a Westboro rally – and I’ve done this – they will say, “Well, I don’t necessarily disagree with their message. I just don’t like the way they’re saying it.”

HIM: Nobody is condemning them to hell. That’s Gods job. Except those freak Westboro people

Shut up. Broad brushing Christians.

ME: Not at all, man.  I see the many shades.

HIM: That’s offensive to me you would even link normal Christians with them

ME: And I’ve been accused of not being a Christian because I’m not this shade or that.

HIM: Do you believe homosexuality is sinful to god?  Or is it cool since society has deemed it cool?  Be not of this world

ME: I believe carnal lust of all kinds is sinful to God. How could it not be? We become so body obsessed, so driven into our earthly pleasures that we are distracted from God.

I believe MY carnal lust is just as harmful as some guy that lusts after another guy.

HIM: Yes. And I condemn your sins as much as I condemn my own. Is it wrongs to condemn sin but not love them as brothers?

ME: It is when we single them out as untouchables.

HIM: Homosexuals are untouchables.

ME: No more untouchable than any of us.

Which is what has happened, man. And the sooner we admit it and move out of that era, the better for all of us.

And thank God he still reaches in and touches our hearts, right?

HIM: You are making sin as a grey area.

ME: Nope. I’m not. I’m simply conscious of the fact that I am a sinner.

HIM: It’s ok to condemn kleptomania and ensure they don’t act on it but it’s the end of the world when some hillbilly condemns homosexuality which is apparently like lynching nowadays

ME: I didn’t condemn anything.

HIM: It’s wrong for you to condemn sin?

ME: That’s what the Bible says

HIM: No, it’s wrong to punish sinners.

ME: You can judge a person by their fruit, not by what’s rotten.

Christ tells us time and time again not to point out the speck in the other man’s eye when ours is full of splinters

HIM: Exactly. So as a Christian our walk in Christ is built to surround ourselves among the sinners and spread His gospel. That includes clothe condemnation of sin. “Go and sin no more” -Jesus

ME: But that’s about a personal walk, not telling others how to walk.

HIM: Jesus told the prostitute how to walk did he not?  Sin no more is exactly that.  What’s the point of scripture if it’s not meant as a guide? What’s the point of fellowship or Church?

ME: He is God.

HIM: We are to live as Christ did. Did he not tell the prostitute to sin no more?

ME: Fellowship is about iron sharpening iron. It’s not about choosing what sins are acceptable and what are not for your Christian community. That’s what the second letter to the Corinthians is all about!

HIM: What’s the iron? The troubling truth about sin?

ME: It’s faith.  You are to build up faith with faith.

It’s all about a PERSONAL experience. I can’t tell someone else how to have a personal experience with God.

HIM: Nobody is telling one how to. That doesn’t even makes sense

Being a Christian is about loving one another as Christ loves us but also being our brother’s keeper in that walk with Christ. If you’re atheist and gay, whatever… But if you’re a Christian and proudly brandish your sinful homosexuality then it’s a duty to tell that person to go and sin no more. There is no condemnation to hell or anything. At least there better not or your stone will shatter your glass house.

ME: I agree with you about accountability. Our BIGGEST problem as a church though is that we do a heck of a job making it clear they aren’t even welcome to come inside in the first place. We’ve done all we can to make them feel as unwelcome as possible by saying things like what Mr. Robertson said and then backing him up with the power of the entire community.

HIM: We welcome all people including gays. The problem is its accepted behavior. The church deems it as sin and gays don’t like being called out and then they feel unwelcome. Well no shit.

Kleptos attend church without problem. Why? Because they know they are sinners like the rest and want to overcome.

ME: Do you honestly think that, or are you just saying it? Do you really think that Kleptos experience the same concentrated religious persecution as gays?

HIM: No because society has deemed homosexuality as ok. When society deems kleptomania as ok, the same conflict will arise.

ME: That’s bunk, dude. I’m surprised at you. Homosexuals were being tied to fence posts and beaten to death. . . Like yesterday!! And the church was just as unwelcoming then as they are now.

HIM: I don’t agree with those actions then either. Don’t group me with that.

And please, kkk or Islam isn’t my faith.

ME: In fact, in many of those cases, the church were culpable. Just as it was in the South during the KKK’s reign. We HAVE TO start reaching out to them if we want to see them in Heaven!

HIM: They want Christians to accept their behavior as not sin.  That’s a sticking point.

ME: We – as a faith – HAVE TO do all we can to show that we aren’t the ignorant bigots that are standing in their way to salvation. We have to RISE ABOVE the hate and show God’s love like never before if we hope to make any kind of difference.

HIM: If a homosexual went to my church Sunday and said, I” am a sinner, i want to stop sinning. Please help” then he’s welcome like any other sinner.

If he shows up saying “I’m here, I’m queer” them he’s not trying to become a better Christian. His motives would be questioned.

ME: If you had something about yourself that you could not change – something that everyone else told you had to be changed or else – you would want the same acceptance that they do. Instead, we bury our heads in the sand, refuse to accept that God would allow someone to be “born that way” when we have a Bible that tells us we are all born that way in some way or the other, and blindly lead the blind.

HIM: How do you know I’m not struggling with a disease I have to bury deep?

ME: I know you are. We all are. That’s the promise of being human.

How to Spot a Racist

Okay.  I figure I should write about a couple of really heavy subjects that have been on my mind of late.  If you’re seeking something light, move along.  There’s nothing to see here.

I think it’s funny people keep saying we’re in a “post-racial America.”  Those same people are generally the ones I hear saying things like:
“Our president is the most racially divisive president of all time.”
AND
“Simply disagreeing with the president doesn’t make me a racist.”

As to the first, how is Obama the “most racially divisive” president other than by simply being black?

Is it because he said Treyvon Martin was similar to what his son might have looked like had he had one?  Well, that’s kind of dumb.  First of all, he was answering a question about how he FELT about the shooting.  It was a personal question, and his response was based on pretty basic observation.  I thought the same thing when seeing the picture pop up beside the president.  “That kid looks a lot like Obama.”  Was I making it about race?  Not really.  I was making the observation based on many factors including but not limited to the shade of their skin.   Besides, if this is a problem, then why isn’t it offensive each time a president talks about “our sons and daughters in combat?”  They certainly don’t have kids fighting any war we know of.

As for the second. . .  Well, let’s first clarify that there probably are some people that think you’re a racist.  There are certainly people out there that think all Republicans are rednecks.  Those people are idiots, but no one is giving them any credibility.  Stop worrying about those people.

Ted Cruz recently “filibustered” defunding Obamacare for 21 hours.  (I know that sentence is confusing, but so was the nature of the filibuster since it was his own proposal he was blocking.)  The important part is that NO ONE is calling him a racist.  No one with a shred of credibility.

Now, before we go on, let me say a couple of things.  First of all let me pause for a moment and say this out loud (which means you will need to stop reading it in your head and read it OUT LOUD). I am NOT calling you a racist.  YOU ARE NOT A RACIST!!!

Some of you might very well be, but that’s not the point!

I also want to take a minute to explain my position.  I am a centrist.  I am a bit socially liberal with a dash of pro-life and fiscally conservative with a hint of “you can’t expect the market to behave with morality” mixed in.  I have many friends and family members from both sides of the aisle, and I respect their opinions.  I value them!  I love for them to challenge me with their own views on the issues.

A year ago, I was the guy telling people that they were being too hard on the GOP. That saying Republicans don’t like Obama “just because he’s black” was ignorant. But to use an old, possibly racist expression. . .  Let’s call a spade a spade.

When you look at SOME of the people that latched onto George Zimmerman, you see absolute, bold faced, on-the-nose racism. When you hear people call your president the n word. When they speculate that he is “probably” a Jihadist. When they say things like how he’s “not a real American anyway.” When you have people in Tea Party Rallies tell the white and black people in the crowd not to mix with Mexicans because “you can’t breed a prize stallion with a donkey.” When you actually have to throw someone out of the Republican National Convention for throwing peanuts at an African-American journalist and saying, “That’s how you feed them.” When you have people wearing t-shirts that say both “Romney 2012” and “Put the WHITE back in the WHITE HOUSE.” When you have people saying that Obama was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review because of “Affirmative Action.” And YES, when you have members of the New Black Panther Party intimidating voters in front of the polls by shouting things like, “Now you’ll have a black president, white devil!!”

Add that up, look at how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go, and take into account the potential this nation has ahead of us, and I feel it’s a battle worth fighting.  If these words could help even one person find reason, then their worth every breath in my body.

Can you spot the racist?

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