Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Jerry Lewis

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis is an icon of physical American comedy performance.  He was a role model for Jim Carey and scores of other great comedians of the 20th and 21st Century.  But in 100 years, Mr. Lewis will be more remembered for opening our hearts than for his comedy.  

This weekend is the annual MDA Labor Day Telethon.  Last year's telethon raised over 60 million dollars for muscular dystrophy and ALS research.  Jerry Lewis has been a champion for the young victims of these diseases for decades.  

5 Degrees

I could have done this in fewer degrees by going through celebrities who have appeared on the Jerry Lewis telethon.  I chose a different way that I think will entertain and delight you!

Fifth Degree: Eleanor Gehrig
Eleanor Gehrig and Jerry Lewis
Scanning the MDA site, I was surprised to find that ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease, is under the MDA umbrella.  It has been for years.  Thanks to the dedication of Gehrig's widow, Eleanor, the effective treatment and cure for ALS is much closer.  Read about the Gehrig connection to Jerry's Kids by clicking here.

Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig
Lou Gehrig played his entire career for the New York Yankees.  His official website has wonderful video and information about his life and career.  That site is also a good place to see his "Luckiest Man" speech which is currently not available on youtube.

Sweet Fact about Lou Gehrig: When he gave his "Luckiest Man" speech, he knew full well the devistating nature of his illness.  In those days it was common to withhold disgnosis and prognosis from patients.  (Now, such a practice is not only unethical, but illegal.)  Lou knew, and he kept the fact that he knew from his wife out of love.  He wanted her to think that he was blissfully unaware.  I learned this watching History Detectives on PBS.  For a transcript of that show and the site for that episode, click here.

Fourth Degree: Joe DiMaggio
January 15, 1954
I think it's safe to say that the Yankees and their immediate families knew each other in the 1920s and 1930s. While Lou was slugging out a lifetime (15 years) .340 batting average and almost 500 home runs, he played with Joe DiMaggio.
This funny-lookin', first generation, Italian-American guy from Martinez, California, somehow managed to snag the most beautiful woman in the world.  In January of 1954 he married Marilyn Monroe.  To read the original story from the archives of the San Francisco Museum, click here.

Third Degree: Marilyn Monroe
The connection to the third degree is titillating and painful.  You see, Ms. Monroe was one of a collection of women who invaded the Catholic marriage bed of John F. Kennedy.  There seems little doubt that this was the case.  Here is lovely Marilyn singing her famous Happy Birthday to JFK.
Second Degree: President John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Kennedy and his wife met the pope on a couple occasions during his brief presidency.  Jaqueline had a private audience with the pope, speaking in French with the Holy Father.  For more photos and loads of interesting facts and circumstances, visit the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library in Boston.

Paul VI and John Paul II
First Degree: Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul became pope during the second Vatican council.  Less charismatic than his predecessor, Pope John XXIII, he never enjoyed the same popularity.  He wrote Humanea Vitae and other influential and beautiful encyclicals.  To show love for this man and their commitment to the real teachings of Vatican II, the next popes took both their names, John Paul!

Hey, Lapsed Catholics!!!!
8 pages, that's it.  Just 8 pages and I won't pester you any more this week.  Read Humanea Vitae (in English, not Latin), and open your mind to it.  Just read it and let it sit in your heart.  I swear you won't regret it.  It is a prophetic writing about the sexual revolution.  Just give it a read.  It's always good to be able to argue both sides of an issue to fully understand it.  Read the whole thing here.  

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