This week, the oddest DVD to appear on release lists is:
“Moonshiners: Season 1”
Reality TV seems to have given in to a lowdown obsession with all things hillbilly (witness a recent succession of show such as “Bayou Billionaires,” “Hillbilly Handfishin’,” “Here Comes Honey Bob Boo,” “Duck Dynasty” and so on). One of the gnarliest and most obviously scripted of these hits the DVD shelves Tuesday with “Moonshiners: Season 1.”
This Discovery Channel show purports to provide a documentary view of Appalachian moonshiners practicing their primitive trade during the height of summer brewing season and the efforts of law enforcement agents (so-called “revenooers”) who try to stop this volatile and highly illegal activity.
Cameras follow modern-day bootleggers as they fire up their backwoods stills and brew their corn whisky (a.k.a. white lightning). It’s a storied activity that they claim is an honored part of their cultural history, and they initiate their young’uns into the scraggly fraternity early on. Several sequences offer detailed descriptions of how stills are built and corn whisky is produced, and grainy profiles are inserted featuring famous moonshiners of the past, such as Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton.
In parallel narratives, the series follows Special Agent Jesse Tate as he dogs the moonshiners – wheedling tips from informants, raiding storage houses, busting distillers and generally playing cat and mouse with the wily moonshiners.
As is the case with most reality TV these days, there’s far too much behind-the-scenes coaching (awkward dialogue abounds) and perfectly placed camera shots to make this show truly believable. Reality it’s not. Docudrama, maybe. But a couple of shots of white lightning could make it go down as smoothly as a rerun of “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
“Moonshiners: Season 1” is rated PG-13 and runs 352 minutes on two discs. It’s being released by Discovery Channel.
- Dennis King
7:00 p.m.: The first night of the two-night “The Voice” Season 4 finale starts now, and now is the time for the Top 3 – Muskogee’s The Swon Brothers and 16-year-old Texan Danielle Bradbery competing for Oklahoma country music superstar Blake Shelton’s team and indie pop-rocker Michelle Chamuel representing Usher’s team – to take advantage of what host Carson Daly calls their final chance to prove they are “The Voice” to America.
7:03: After the first of what’s sure to be many montages, we’ve got the coaches opening the show with a horn-tastic rendition of Joe Cocker’s cover of The Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends.” There’s lots of flash and fun involved, and I’m realizing now that I’m really, really gonna miss Shakira when Christina Aguilera comes back next season. In contrast, I haven’t missed Xtina at all.
7:10: Host Carson Daly is thanking the coaches for a great opening number and hushing Blake. “Is he causing trouble, already?” Adam Levine asks. Naturally. “I’m sorry, sir,” Blake replies. Adam says he just wants everyone to have fun. Shakira says she is going to the contestants’ very own cheerleader – “imported direct from Colombia” – and she is going to miss the comfy chair and these jerks the next few months. Usher says he wants Michelle and everyone to remember that “we’re humans being and not just humans doing” and to enjoy it. Blake says all three of the Top 3 have shown that they want to work hard and they don’t need to beat it into their heads anymore.
7:12: Now we’ve got Swon-tage going of The Swon Brothers run through Season 3 – and even earlier than that. Their dad, Kelly Swon, told me during the Muskogee homecoming that Zach started playing music on Mickey Mouse drums when they were 2 years old, and they’ve got pictures to prove it. Blake comments that they’ve got such a wave of momentum going, and they need to capitalize. They’re reiterating that they never expected to make the finals. They’re going to do The Eagles’ “I Can’t Tell You Why.” It’s a challenging song, so I hope they nail it …
7:15: Here we go, Zach is on piano, Colton is on guitar and they’re rocking those sibling harmonies. They’re nailing the falsettos on this, which is an amazingly positive sign. I hope their next song is something really high-energy that will contrast, but I think this is a great opening salvo. I love that Shakira is waving a “Go Okies” pennant for them! What a great sport! Have I mentioned I’m gonna miss her?
7:18: Blake is on his feet applauding, and the Swons and Blake are, as Carson put it, “acknowledging the new Okie from Colombia.” Usher is praising them “for finding the girl part of their voices,” evolving from strictly country and picking a classic effort; his praise seems a little backhanded, which is maybe naturally since they’re a threat to his finalist. Shakira is gushing that she is a fan and they’ve made her like them even though she doesn’t follow country. Adam notes that he was a bit critical of their last Eagles performance and that they nailed this one and he thought they did a great job, which was a tall order considering the Eagles are some of the best singers around. Blake turns Usher’s slightly sharp comments into a straight-up compliment, saying that he believes the reason people can’t always put their finger on what they like about the Swon siblings is that they are constantly evolving. Well played, sir.
7:27: This is what they’re calling a “defining moment” performance. Michelle Chamuel takes the stage in her trademark black glasses and red jacket, and the latter seems particularly since she is performing Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” from her “Red” album. I really like Michelle’s voice and her self-deprecating awkwardness and her goofy dancing. I’m not sure I’d ever vote for her even if there wasn’t a pair of Okies in this competition, but she’s got a certain likeability and definite vocal talent. My inner once-bullied nerd-girl wants to take her out for a latte and a good girl chat.
7:31: Usher is on his feet and fist-pumping. Shakira praises her energy and her “extraordinary, out-of-the-ordinary” talent. Adam notes that there’s an energy that Michelle creates onstage that just can’t be fabricated and is “the coolest thing in the world.” Blake is again talking about the evolution of an audience from the first time they saw her on the blind audition this year to now when he has to acknowledge she is a rock star. “This is a defining moment,” Usher says, adding neither expected to pick a Taylor Swift song for her – nor did they expect Swifty to drop in on their rehearsals. “You can’t have that many relatives out there screaming that loud, that’s fans.” Indeed, she has fans now, and they were very loud.
7:38: Christina Milian is chatting with The Swon Brothers asking what they loved the most about this experience. Colton says they love playing with the band there and getting lots of advice from the coaches. Zach says “it’s definitely the relationships that you build day in and day out.” He says they’re going to miss everybody.
7:40: Blake met with 16-year-old Texan Danielle Bradbery’s parents and stepparents over lunch, and he’s got kind words for them about instilling the confidence in her she needed to make it through the competition. Blake also praises her for introducing country classics for a new generations. He says she’s in the Top 3 out of 40,000 hopefuls. Wow. That’s a big number. Her parents says Danielle just wants to make Blake proud. “Mission accomplished,” he says. He also says he’s just honored to be part of her story. See, this is why he’s so good at this.
7:42: Danielle’s first performance of the night is the Patty Loveless classic “Timber, I’m Falling in Love,” which she’s doing as a duet with Blake. She’s got a terrific voice and a fresh, youthful sweetness to her. I’m rooting for the Swon siblings, obviously, but I don’t think I’m going to be disappointed with whoever wins this season. Her parents are on their feet, along with the rest of the crowd at the end of that charming performance.
7:49: Blake says The Swon Brothers “really turned a corner” and showed how talented they were with “Danny’s Song,” which is their “defining moment” encore performance of the night. Cue the candles, piano, Colton and Zach to do the Loggins and Messina/Anne Murray hit one more time. They topped the iTunes country charts with this one last week, and it was a big part of the reason they’re here now. These guys are definitely consistent. They sound just as great tonight. Read what The Swon Brothers had to say about picking that song in my interview with them last week by clicking here.
7:53: Usher says that the fact that they personalized performance and “did it such justice” allowed them to give such an incredible rendition of the song that he practically disappeared into it. Adam says Usher stole what he was going to say and that they should feel proud because they made it feel new. “I’ll be back in Oklahoma on Wednesday and … I’ll guarantee you they’re playing it on the radio back home in Oklahoma.” Blake says they’re harmonies just get better and they just keep getting better. I tend to agree, and I’m not even saying that ’cause they’re fellow Okies.
8:00: Michelle is going to do Annie Lennox’s “Why” tonight in an all-white suit in front of a lighted magic mirrors. A bit of high-tech FX there. It’s another challenging song, and it’s good to see The Top 3 taking risks and pushing themselves right up to the end.
8:05: Shakira is now rooting for Michelle by wearing black-rimmed glasses similar to hers. She is praising Michelle not just for her talent but for her sweet and humble attitude, which she thinks will help the singer achieve long-term success. Blake says he’s still freaked out by the mirror trick, and he says he was refreshed to see a more laidback performance from her. She has shown more of her rocker song. Usher says that a combination of likeability and capability is what every artist hopes to have, and she’s got it.
8:12: Carson notes The Swon Brothers found kindred spirits in Blake, which is probably an understatement. Now, we’re seeing highlights of their parents Kelly and Tammy Swon meeting Blake and their boys for lunch. Their mom says that it’s a surprise to see them in the finals, and the boys are slightly sarcastic but smiling in telling her thanks. Their mom then tells the story their dad wasn’t sure when he talked to me that he wanted out to the world: When they got in trouble, he used to make the boys go their room and not come out until they had written a song. So funny. I’ve enjoyed chatting a couple of times with Kelly Swon, but it sounds like I need to get their mom on the phone, too! But the family gets serious when they say that Blake turning his chair at the blind audition meant so much after 15 years of hearing no.
8:14: Yes! I got my wish for Blake and the Swon siblings to do a funny Brad Paisley song. They’re crooning “Celebrity,” which basically mocks reality shows! They sound great, they’re having fun, and I love that they got to show off that ironic sense of humor they share.
8:22: For Danielle’s “defining moment,” Blake is going back to the start of the live shows and her powerhouse rendition of Pam Tillis’ “Maybe It Was Memphis.” The song is a personal fave of my mine, so yes, I approve. I love her cute sparkly silver flower-motif dress with the fringe and her sparkle-adorned cowboy boots. She has a great smile, and she sounds fabulous, per the norm.
8:26: Blake is on his feet cheering and clapping and Carson tells him “Sit down. Sit your butt down!” Shakira is now wearing a black cowboy hat to show her support for her Danielle and says she’s going to “holy cow her one more time” and that she has “taken the bull by the horn.” After saying that Shakira looks adorable in her hat, Adam says he hates Blake for managing to snag Danielle in this competition … and then goes so far to declare Danielle his predictive winner of this season of “The Voice.” He says he doesn’t want to admit that Blake is going to win again, but he’s got Blake on his feet and clapping. Shelton goes on to declare her a star and say she’s one of the most important artists that’s ever been on the show. High praise.
8:30: Carson says that the Top 3 are teaming up for a big surprise after the break.
8:34: Christina Milian has all four of the Top 3′s moms – kudos for including both Danielle’s mom and stepmom – on the upper stage and lets them give a word of encouragement to their kids. Tammy Swon reminds her boys “Remember, no backup plan. Carson responds “We see where some of that Swon humor comes from,” and then he’s introducing a special group performance of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes’ “Home,” with the quartet swapping verses. Now, we’ve got the rest of the top 16 reuniting to sing it all together. Love that the Swons gave Holly Tucker a big hug. So sweet. It’s a fun rendition of a fun song.
8:42: We’re getting close to voting time! Get ready people!
8:43: Now, we’ve got Usher meeting Michelle and her family for brunch to get to know them better. Her mom is part of a Jewish family from Egypt who came to the U.S. as refugees, so they are thrilled that Michelle is getting to be part of the American dream. It’s great to see three likeable all-American talents from such different backgrounds competing for the title of “The Voice.”
8:45: For their duet, Michelle and Usher are going to perform U2′s “One,” and he’s got the crowd clapping along as he starts it off. Like Blake, it’s been great to see Usher bond with his finalist over the course of the season. He and Michelle seem to have a really close relationship, which is cool. They sound great, and they seem to be enjoying sharing the stage together.
8:53: It’s shocking to look back and remember that her blind audition was Danielle Bradbery’s first big performance. She’s growing up fast, and she’s going to do Sara Evans’ “Born to Fly,” which is a really uptempo song with a wide vocal range. Again, so good to see the Top 3 challenging themselves.
8:55: Here is Danielle’s cover of “Born to Fly,” and she’s doing well. But the true test is on the choruses … and she nails it. Man, there are millions who would kill for that all-natural perfect pitch that girl’s got on her.
8:58: Huge applause for Danielle. Usher says “It’s obvious you did the right thing going with Blake.” Adam says she’s so perfect it’s almost boring. Blake says “At the end of the day, Danielle, honestly, it’s hard for me to even look at you, I’m one of the millions wrapped around your finger now.” He reiterates his belief that she’s important to the show and the music industry.
9:00: Voting is now open and closes at 9 a.m. Oklahoma time Tuesday. You can vote by toll-free call, text, iTunes download or online at www.nbc.com/the-voice. To see how to do it all, click here.
Please return here Tuesday night for my live blog of the results.
The final live performances of Season 4 of “The Voice” air at 7 tonight on NBC, with Muskogee’s The Swon Brothers and 16-year-old Texan Danielle Bradbery competing for Oklahoma country music superstar Blake Shelton’s team and indie pop-rocker Michelle Chamuel representing Usher’s team.
“We never would have thought that we were going to make it this far. And to know that America’s got behind us and Oklahoma’s got behind us like they have, it’s just a blessing. It really is,” said Colton Swon, half of the sibling duo, told me by phone Friday from Los Angeles, where he and his brother, Zach, were getting ready for this week’s finale frenzy.
The two-night “The Voice” Season 4 finale airs tonight and Tuesday on NBC. The two-hour performance episode will broadcast live from 7 to 9 tonight, with voting opening by phone, text, Internet and iTunes downloads right after it ends.
The winner will be revealed during the live two-hour season finale airing from 8 to 10 p.m. Tuesday.
To read more of my new interview with Zach and Colton Swon, click here. And check out these videos from last Tuesday’s performance episode, plus the after-show interview with “The Voice’s” Christina Milian:
Trips to Kansas and Arkansas have proven productive for the Heritage Hall football team that is trying to build itself back into a state championship contender.
The Chargers recently attended a team camp at Kansas State, and won the 7-on-7 tournament on the final day of the camp. And over the weekend, Heritage Hall reached the finals of the Shootout of the South 7-on-7 tournament in Little Rock, Ark.
Heritage Hall was one of the smallest schools to reach the final eight, which also included Allen, Texas, and large Arkansas schools like Fayetteville and Little Rock Central, among others.
Lake Hamilton (Pearcy, Ark.) defeated the Chargers 37-28 in the finals on Saturday.
But the performance was important for a young Heritage Hall squad that will rely on several sophomores and juniors at the skill positions. Junior Matthew McLaughlin was named the event’s Outstanding Receiver, while others like junior quarterback Connor McGinnis and senior T.J. Schallner also stood out.
“We just came in and played really well,” coach Andy Bogert said. “Connor threw the ball really well, just had a great day.”
Heritage Hall beat Topeka in the finals of the Kansas State tournament.
Jimmy Stevens’ final field goal as the Oklahoma kicker was his most memorable. At least in the minds of OU fans.
On Sept. 17, 2011, Stevens kicked a 31-yard field goal to give OU a 23-13 lead at Florida State, with just 2:01 left in the game. The Sooners had a stirring victory, and Stevens’ field goals of 21, 29 and 31 were instrumental.
But he’s not remembered as a hero. That final kick was a wounded duck that somehow fluttered over the crossbar, between the goal posts, ending a couple of seconds of utter disbelief among not only the massive crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium, but those watching on television.
It was the final field goal of Stevens’ career. Bob Stoops, citing an injury, replaced Stevens the rest of the season.
But fans still remember that kick. Two weeks ago, at the OU caravan stop in Dallas, one of the questions Stoops fielded was from a fan who asked, “What was were you thinking when Jimmy Stevens hit that horrible field goal against Florida State?”
Stoops laughed. “I was thinking same thing you were,” Stoops said. “I was thinking OMG. I was watching it. It went through, I was like, whew. You gotta be kidding me. I said the same thing to Jimmy. ‘Wow, are you kidding me?’ I’m pretty honest during games.”
Michael Hunnicut’s kicks are much more aesthetically pleasing. Last season, Hunnicut made 17 of 21 field goals; he missed twice from the 30s and twice from the 40s. Hunnicut was 21 of 24 after replacing Stevens in 2011, missed twice from the 30s and once from the 20s.
Stevens for his career was solid — 42 of 52 on field goals, Five of his 10 misses were from the 40s. But it’s one he made that Stevens will have a hard time living down.
Organizers and teams from the Heartland Classic, the interstate baseball tournament that begins Tuesday in Norman and Moore, will hold a silent auction Monday through Thursday.
Monday, the items will be available to view at Sooner Legends, 1200 24th Ave. SW in Norman.
Items include a football autographed by four Oklahoma Heisman Trophy winners, Stan Musial autographed baseball, a Warren Spahn autographed baseball, an autographed Thunder baseball, an autograped Oakland A’s bat donated by Team Georgia, a Todd Helton autographed baseball and several other items.
After Monday, photos of the items will be available for viewing at Norman, Norman North and Southmoore, where the tournament is being played.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, secured $100 million for construction at Oklahoma military bases in the defense bill approved last week by the committee.
According to Inhofe, the bill includes about $71 million for construction and maintenance of hangars, fuel distribution facilities and squadron operations at Tinker.
Altus Air Force Base, which was recently named the site for the Formal Training Unit for the KC-46A refueling tanker, will get $33 million for facilities maintenance and construction projects, Inhofe’s office said.
Inhofe has served on the committee for almost two decades, but the bill passed last week was the first he worked on as the panel’s top Republican.
When the bill goes before the full Senate, Inhofe plans to offer an amendment to cancel the automatic budget cuts for the Defense Department that have led to furloughs, a reduction in pilot training and maintentance and other money-saving measures.
Other provisions sponsored or supported by Inhofe:
_ Adding language that provides $47.3 million to fund modernization of the avionics of all C-130H aircraft. He also supported language requiring the Secretary of the Air Force to consider upgrades to legacy C-130H aircraft that would meet the fuel economy goals of the Air Force and ensure that the upgrades to the C-130H fleet are made in a manner that is proportional to the number of C-130H aircraft in the force. These enhancements will allow companies such as Boeing in Oklahoma City to compete for contracts to ensure the long-term sustainability and operational capability of the C-130H fleet.
_ Adding language urging the Air Force Weather to focus modernization efforts on those capabilities required to collect, analyze, predict, tailor, and integrate accurate, timely, and relevant weather data for the warfighter. This amendment would allow groups and universities such as the University of Oklahoma to assist the Air Force in creating modernized meteorological and weather analysis training programs that will improve our warfighting capabilities.
“OU is encouraged by the language creating a Meteorological and Weather Analysis Training Program,” said Berrien Moore, OU vice president for Weather and Climate Programs and director, the National Weather Center.
_ Language that would require the Secretary of the Air Force to produce a report on the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) to assess certain aspects of the current CAP aircraft program to include fleet size, mission requirements and operating locations in order to address the drastic cuts to the program. This amendment will allow the Oklahoma Civil Air Patrol to ensure it has adequate resources to carry out its operations to include search and rescue, counterdrug, disaster relief, humanitarian services, and support to the Air Force.
“Oklahoma has a rich aviation history and large aviation industry,” said Joe Cavett, Commander of the Oklahoma Wing, Civil Air Patrol. “We are fortunate to have Senator Inhofe in Washington defending the interests of our state and general aviation across the nation.”
_ Language urging the Department of Defense to provide funding for the Troops-to-Teachers Program.
“The University of Central Oklahoma applauds Senator Inhofe for his national leadership on the Troops to Teachers initiative,” said President of the University of Central Oklahoma Don Betz. “This meshes so well between the needs of veterans, their spouses, children, and America’s and Oklahoma’s demands for more teachers. Veterans and their families have demonstrated their exceptional commitment to placing the needs of others before themselves through their steadfast dedication to public service. This makes them ideal candidates to serve as teachers, mentors and role models to young people.
_ Authorizing the Department of Defense to obligate up to $90 million to provide logistical support to the national military forces of Uganda to mitigate or eliminate the threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and bring an end to the murderous campaign of LRA leader Joseph Kony, who has killed thousands, displaced over 1 million and kidnapped more than 30,000 children.
Michael Poffenberger with The Resolve organization said, “Ongoing US support for efforts to stop Joseph Kony’s crimes against civilians has helped fracture the LRA, nab one of Kony’s top deputies, and reduced the LRA’s destabilizing attacks. The funds in this year’s Senate defense authorization bill championed by Senator Inhofe will ensure this progress continues, so that this human rights crisis can finally be ended.”
Arizona freshman Aaron Gordon on NBA star Blake Griffin: “I think, I can play point guard and he can’t.”
Arizona’s Aaron Gordon is in his first day of try outs to make the USA National Team for the under-19 division.
During tryouts, he threw down a pretty mean dunk.
Then he was asked about above dunk and his comparisons to Clippers’ star, and former Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin.(Gordon is 6-foot-8 while Griffin is 6-foot-10 and both are obviously athletic.)
Here’s what he said, per the Sporting News:
Gordon answers, “I think, I can play point guard and he can’t.”
“He’s an incredible player; he’s the No. 1 pick,” Gordon said. “I can’t be too mad if people are comparing me to a No. 1 pick. But I can play point guard.”
Yeah. All that came from a kid who hasn’t played an official second of collegiate ball.
YOU ASK! WE ANSWER! YOU DECIDE!
By Callie Gordon, Lillie-Beth Brinkman, Helen Ford Wallace
QUESTION: I live in a nice neighborhood. Walks are common among neighbors and their furry friends. These ordinarily friendly folk have no problem allowing their animals to let loose their business anywhere — driveways, gardens, lawns. On numerous occasions. I have offered a plastic bag for cleanup only to be rejected. My grievance is the lack of responsibility for their pet. Any thoughts on this problem?
CALLIE’S ANSWER: I think you have done all you can by offering a doggie bag. I think it is great if you keep trying to offer these doggie bags. In some neighborhoods people can get fined if they do not clean up after their pets. I would check into this and see what your neighborhoods policy is.
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: This is such a problem that there are services that advertise the ability to test a dog’s DNA and compare it to the poop on your lawn so you know exactly who the culprit was; in other states, I’ve read about some neighborhoods requiring owners to register the DNA of their dogs in order to track the unscooped poop. That doesn’t help you solve your problem, but it might help to know you’re not alone.
We try to bring cleanup bags every time we take our dog on a walk, and if we forget one, we’ll drive back to the spot and clean it up later. It’s too bad that you were rejected in your offer to provide such a bag, but it sounds like you’ve done all you can do other than call city officials to register a complaint.
HELEN’S ANSWER: If you have a dog, being responsible for it means cleaning up after it. In some states fines are given if you don’t scoop the poop.
Removing dog poop and disposing of it can be viewed as a public heath issue and should be treated accordingly. Keep offering those plastic bags as a reminder. Some neighborhoods post signs saying “please clean up after your dog.”
GUEST’S ANSWER: Richard Rosser, author of the Piggy Nation book series and musical and first assistant director for “The Neighbors” on ABC: The Pesky Poop Problem has plagued homeowners since the Neanderthal first domesticated the dingo and it pooped in front of his neighbor’s cave. I’ve never understood pet owners’ rationale for refusing to pick up their pet’s poop.
Consider installing a pet waste station (available on the Internet for $100) or a decorative edging fence around your yard. If those suggestions fail, you could always collect the poop for a month and dump it on the pet owner’s lawn.
Callie Gordon is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email firstname.lastname@example.org.