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Thriller of ‘30s

“I can hardly complain that Cab Calloway never got his due. After all, his band ranked among the most popular acts of the 1930s. And this charismatic performer enjoyed remarkable staying power — delighting audiences at the Cotton Club during the Great Depression, selling out theaters on Broadway in the 1960s and ‘70s, and delighting new fans alongside the Blues Brothers in the 1980s. Even so, I can’t help wondering what he might have achieved.

“If music videos and YouTube had been around when Calloway was a young man, he would have been an even bigger hit. He was the closest thing to Michael Jackson that you could find on the New York entertainment scene of the prewar years — in fact, he was performing Jackson’s trademark ‘moon walk’ dance step back in 1932. Calloway was a wildly original dancer and powerful singer, with dazzling costumes (several each night) and a stage presence that no other jazz performer of his day, not even an Ellington or Armstrong, could surpass. In short, Calloway needed to be seen, not just heard.”

Ted Gioia, writing on “Being Cab Calloway,” in the Oct. 23 issue of the Weekly Standard

Thrill is gone

“Lutherans celebrate Reformation Day, that day back in 1517 when Martin Luther stomped up to the Wittenberg church door and nailed up his 95 Theses. It’s a big day for us; used to be, at any rate. I don’t suppose Roman Catholics pay much attention to it, but then I wouldn’t expect them to, considering things. …

“[I]t isn’t easy anymore preaching a Reformation Day sermon that touts the triumph of Lutheran reason over Roman superstition, mired in the swamp of indulgences and the like. When I was a new pastor in 1980 I recall a much older pastor speaking wistfully of the good old days. That was when a Reformation Day preacher could trash the pope, condemn work’s righteousness, pity those poor guys with their pathetic statues, and then easily move on over to the glory of Luther’s rediscovery of salvation-by-grace-through-faith-in-Christ-apart-from-works-of-the-Law. We could all go home feeling very good about being Lutheran. …

“Nowadays, the pope just isn’t quite the antichrist he once was. Lutherans are in an identity crisis over the whore of Babylon. There are probably a few holdouts among conservative Lutheran churches, but for the rest of us Reformation Day isn’t nearly as much fun as in days gone by.”

— Russell E. Saltzman, writing on “Reformation Day 2010,” on Oct. 31 at the First Things blog First Thoughts

Sheen all thrills

“Out-of-control Charlie Sheen is on a NEW rampage with hookers and cocaine, partying wildly since returning from New York, RadarOnline.com is reporting exclusively. And the situation is so grave that one close friend, who has known him for more than 20 years said: ‘Charlie Sheen is going to die this week.’

“Sheen’s bender comes just days after he was hospitalized in New York, where he went bonkers while using coke, drinking heavily and partying with porn star Capri Anderson.

“That episode ended with police called to Sheen’s hotel room and the ‘Two and a Half Men’ star hospitalized for a psychological evaluation. Now RadarOnline.com has learned things have gotten even worse for the actor since he returned to Los Angeles and the star’s handlers are gravely concerned.

“Sheen has been partying in LA using massive amounts of cocaine while getting together with several hookers. Team Sheen is frantic about Charlie’s behavior and one close source said: ‘Charlie’s cocaine use is out of control. The situation has gotten even worse.’ … Sheen wasted little time resuming his drug binge after leaving New York last week. Prostitutes have been at his house for several nights and he has used cocaine non-stop in front of them.”

From “Charlie Sheen on New Rampage With Hookers & Cocaine,” on Nov. 1 at Radar Online

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