Tag Archives: Balladeer’s Blog

JUST ONE WEEK TIL COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON KICKS OFF!

Yes, the divisions of college football covered here at Balladeer’s Blog get started earlier than the others. Next Thursday the 24th will be the kickoff for the 2017 season.

AUGUST 24th’s GAMES IN THE NAIA:

Dickinson State Blue Hawks helmet NEWThe 15th ranked DICKINSON STATE BLUE HAWKS will host their Frontier Conference rivals the ROCKY MOUNTAIN COLLEGE BATTLIN’ BEARS. 

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Evangel CrusadersThe EVANGEL UNIVERSITY CRUSADERS take it on the road against the number 9 team in the nation – the GRAND VIEW UNIVERSITY VIKINGS.  

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Warner Memorial U Royals helmetThe WARNER UNIVERSITY ROYALS will likewise play Road Warriors as they travel to take on the UNIVERSITY OF THE CUMBERLANDS PATRIOTS. 

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Dakota Wesleyan Tigers helmet NEWMeanwhile THE AG BOWL will pit the number 17 DAKOTA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY TIGERS against the DAKOTA STATE TROJANS in a North Star Athletic Association matchup.

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Pikeville BearsAnd the UNIVERSITY OF PIKEVILLE BEARS will be on the road to take on their familiar foes the CAMPBELLSVILLE UNIVERSITY TIGERS.

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AUGUST 24th’s GAMES IN THE NJCAA:

garden-city-broncbusters-helmet-newThe Defending Champions – the GARDEN CITY COLLEGE BRONCBUSTERS – open the season hosting the ELLSWORTH COLLEGE PANTHERS.  

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Highland ScottiesThe HIGHLAND COLLEGE SCOTTIES, meanwhile, will travel to face the DODGE CITY COLLEGE CONQUISTADORS to begin their 2017 campaign. 

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THE STOLEN PLANET (1906): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION

Stolen PlanetTHE STOLEN PLANET (1906) – Written by John Mastin. Jervis Meredith, a wealthy young British man and his equally wealthy friend Fraser Burnley are so brilliant they invent anti-gravity. Next the young tycoons have a spaceship built so they  can use their anti-gravity device to tour outer space.

The battleship-sized craft is named The Regina and combines propellers with Meredith and Burnley’s anti-gravity invention. The friends set off with a ten-man crew and – oddly enough – they are so paranoid about people stealing their secrets they have rigged an elaborate bugging system throughout the Regina so they can know what the crew members talk about.

The explorers make the eccentric decision to explore the region around Sirius first, rather than our own solar system. Enroute the Regina accidentally pulls an uncharted planet out of its orbit (?) and causes it to collide with another uncharted planet. This collision causes a new sun to be born. (Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog will remember that this was apparently a big idea for a time since a lot of these old stories feature suns forming from colliding planets.)

Eventually our heroes decide to explore some planets on their way to the star Sirius. On the first planet they visit the explorers find enormous ruins obviously built by a gigantic race that is now extinct. The structures were beautiful from what can be made out and are made of materials unknown on Earth.

Jervis and Fraser – British to the core – “annex” the planet in the name of the King of England. They name the world Silens and soon find the atmosphere to be so radioactive they must leave before they suffer permanent damage.

Next the Regina survives an encounter with a comet, then lands on another planet. This one is many times the size of Earth and with gravity thousands of times greater. All the animals of this planet (Inimicus Ingens) are gigantic compared to Earth animals. Even germs are so large they are visible to the naked eye.

The explorers are captured by the world’s enormous humanoids but manage to escape the beings with a spunky alien sea creature as their new mascot. A guided missile that the aliens shoot at the Regina fails to hit it. Continue reading

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DEMOI (C 417 B.C.) – ANCIENT GREEK COMEDY

FOR BACKGROUND INFORMATION IF YOU MISSED MY FIRST POST ON ANCIENT GREEK COMEDIES CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2011/09/22/at-long-last-my-ancient-greek-comedy-posts-begin/

map of greeceAs promised this time around I’ll depart from the works of Aristophanes to examine the fragmentary remains of a work by another genius of Ancient Greek Comedy, in this case Eupolis. 

Eupolis was part of the Big Three of Ancient Greek Comedy (henceforth AGC) along with Aristophanes and Cratinus. Some people confuse Eupolis with the later Greek comedian Eubulus but manage to lead fairly normal lives just the same. (rimshot)

THE PREMISE

Demoi is considered to be Eupolis’ greatest political satire. The premise is simplicity itself. An Athenian named Pyronides, like many of his fellow citizens, is disgusted with the pettiness, corruption and incompetence of the current crop of political and military leaders in the great city-state. Thus motivated, Pyronides retrieves four of the greatest figures of Athens’ storied past from the Netherworld and brings them back with him so they may set things right.

THE PLAY

In my introductory post about AGC (see above) I illustrated the similar problems faced by the Athenians’ ancient experiment in popular rule and our own often teetering enterprise. Corruption, partisanship and a tendency to subordinate the general good in the name of personal gain  were as rampant then as now.

As all societies are prone to do, the Athenians romanticised the leaders of the past, believing them to be of a heroic stature lacking in the current crop of Athenian politicians and generals. Continue reading

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CHINESE MYTHS: THE MOON GODDESS CHANG-O AND YI, THE DIVINE ARCHER

Yi the Divine Archer

Yi the Divine Archer

On August 15th the Chinese people offered up gifts to Chang-O, their moon goddess. (Technically the did it in the middle of the 8th Lunar Month of the year but in the modern day August 15th is the substitute date.)

Balladeer’s Blog presents the story of Chang-O, her husband Yi the Divine Archer, and the origin of that ritual.

I.WHAT’S UP WITH YI?  – Yi the Divine Archer from Chinese mythology deserves to be remembered in one breath with some of the other great heroes and monster slayers from belief systems around the world. Most people are only familiar with his feat of shooting down multiple suns that appeared in the sky one day, but this article will provide a light- hearted look at all of his fantastic adventures. 

Yi is Continue reading

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MOONA LISA PICTURES COURTESY OF JOHN L.

Moona Lisa with JohnVery special thanks to reader John L. for providing Balladeer’s Blog with some new photos of Moona Lisa, one of the Movie Hostesses covered here.

I will add them to the Moona Lisa article I did in 2011 as well, but first here they are for all of us fans of Movie Host Shows to appreciate. John L himself sets the scene:

“They are from 1970 or 1971. A friend and I drove to the local KOGO TV station in San Diego, just off the 94 freeway, walked in and told the receptionist we were fans of Moona and asked if we could meet her. The next thing you know, a very pleasant and gracious Lisa Clark (in character), greeted us, gave us a tour of the studio and her Moon Base set, gave us an autograph and posed for pictures.”

Moona Lisa with skull

Moona Lisa (Lisa Clark) getting ready to watch and comment on the night’s movie double feature from her “private moon base.” Note the Earth below out the window.

Moona Lisa in stairwell

Moona Lisa in the stairwell leading to her set. Continue reading

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MANTIS 28: CELESTIAL MADONNA EXPLANATIONS AND THE HOODED ONE’s IDENTITY

FOR PART 1 OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF MARVEL’S SUPERHEROINE MANTIS CLICK HERE 

Avengers 133 Yesterday and BeyondTHE AVENGERS Volume 1, Number 133 ( March 1975)  Yesterday and Beyond 

Avengers Roster: Thor (Donald Blake, MD), Iron Man (Tony Stark), The Scarlet Witch (Wanda Frank), Hawkeye (Clint Barton), The Vision (not applicable), MANTIS (Mantis Brandt) and Moon Dragon (Heather Douglas) 

Synopsis: We start out at Avengers Mansion, where the Scarlet Witch and the sorceress Agatha Harkness are still locked away in the room which Agatha has sealed off from the rest of the world. Miss Harkness continues to tutor the Scarlet Witch in the more effective use of her mutant hex powers.  

The throngs of onlookers continue surrounding Avengers Mansion for blocks because of the Madonna Star, which still burns brightly over the mansion. There is still a lot of public speculation that the artificial satellite heralds the end of the world. Whispers about Kang the Conqueror’s reference to a “Celestial Madonna” have even the least religious-minded people apprehensive.

Back in the room where Agatha is tutoring the Scarlet Witch, Wanda – showing no sign or memory of the possessed manner in which she chased away the butler Jarvis in our previous installment – prepares to show more of what she’s learned.

Scarlet Witch and Agatha 133Focusing all her concentration, she manages to get a SPECIFIC, CONTROLLED result from her hex-sphere instead of just unleashing random chaos and destruction. That result: animating a nearby chair and causing it to come to life and begin walking around.

Wanda is so excited and proud that she momentarily loses control of the walking chair, Fantasia-style, so Agatha Harkness intervenes, casting a spell that returns the chair to its normal, inanimate state.

The Scarlet Witch tells Miss Harkness that she’d love to show her fellow Avengers her refined abilities and can’t wait for them to return from Vietnam, where they were researching Mantis’ past. Agatha – always supernaturally savvy about larger events – calmly informs Wanda that the Avengers are no longer in Vietnam, and in fact, are no longer on the Earth. 

Of course, we know Agatha is referring to the very public disappearance of the Avengers when Kang teleported them to Limbo to fight his Legion of the Unliving in Kang’s latest attempt to seize the Celestial Madonna. That attempt was thwarted thanks to help from Immortus, who, like Rama Tut II, was revealed as ANOTHER of Kang’s future selves. (Think of them as different “regenerations” of the same man like in Dr Who.)

We WILL learn how Rama Tut II went on to become Immortus before all this is through, but for right now, Immortus has reassembled the Avengers in his throne-room. Limbo itself exists outside of the time-stream but Immortus has allowed Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye, the Vision and Mantis to sleep since their minds require it.

Refreshed (and presumably fed) the Avengers gather around as Immortus begins to make good on his promise to show the Vision and his past android self – the Original Human (really android) Torch – how their fates intertwined. Immortus also promised to provide Mantis and her fellow Avengers the truth about the Celestial Madonna.  

Immortus already sent the Original Human Torch back in time and now sends the Vision back the same way – clutching a Synchro-Staff , a baton-shaped staff that simultaneously transports the Vision through time as an observer AND provides him with narration in a robotic female voice like Siri.

Immortus gives Thor a Synchro-StaffImmortus says that the Vision must travel alone since his secrets are far too recent. Mantis, Thor, Iron Man and Hawkeye can travel together with a Synchro-Staff of their own because the secrets of the Celestial Madonna began several millennia ago.

In an irresistible character bit from Hawkeye, after Immortus tells Thor to grasp the staff the archer says “I tried grasping the staff at the Playboy Club once …” But Immortus teleports the foursome away before we readers can catch the presumably dirty completion of the remark. Continue reading

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THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: HEROIN

Velvet UndergroundThis latest installment of “Give them a shoutout before they’re dead” needs to have its title adjusted to “Give them a shoutout before they’re ALL dead.” The Velvet Underground – during its years when Lou Reed, “the poet of destruction” himself, was its creative heart and soul – was magnificent.  

Lou Reed is dead but before all the members are gone I decided to do a shoutout to the group that DEFINED being ahead of their time. The Velvet Underground’s influence on music ran so deep it was like the proverbial “Citizen Kane Effect” – its innovations became so universally employed by others that it’s easy to forget there was a time when they WEREN’T being used.

We all know Brian Eno’s legendary line about how – though only 30,000 copies of the Velvet Underground’s 1967 debut album were sold – “everyone who bought a copy started a band of their own.” There are times when it seems like that wasn’t just hype. Hell, I often argue that the Prince song All The Critics Love U In New York seems inspired by the Velvet Undergound song The Black Angel’s Death Song.

Lou ReedHere’s the song Heroin, one of the group’s most haunting. The way Lou Reed conveys the hopelessness and obsessiveness of heroin addiction makes this the furthest thing from what it was often accused of being – a song glorifying drug use.

Hardly. Reed hammers home every unappealing aspect of enslavement to the drug while taking the listener up and down on the highs and the inevitable crashes. Even sex becomes a mere secondary (maybe even tertiary) consideration as heroin takes over.

Anybody who would listen to this song and say “I gotta try some of that!” was doomed from the minute they crawled out of the womb anyway.  

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