…King of the Hill

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As a child, did you ever play King of the Hill?  There is something in us that is competitive and we all want to be the king or queen in our sphere of influence.  So, we play games – some are just for fun, like King of the Hill – and others are much more serious: political games, power struggles at work at the expense of the weak.  It can be brutal.

And that’s why I love baby animals.  Baby animals play just for the pure joy of it.  Today’s photo was taken this past Saturday when we took our two youngest grand daughters to an Easter egg hunt and petting pen at a church near where they lived.  The petting pen was the first thing they did – and the little animals included a pig, lots of bunnies, chickens, lambs (that were the cleanest and whitest lambs I’d ever seen!), ducks…and miniature goats.  The baby goats were the cutest of all (except for our grand daughters!)

I thought that this was a cute scene – this little goat climbed on top of a small hay bale and was playing king of the mountain, and the person supervising the pen was standing there and for some reason she was pointing downward with one finger as if to say: “Get down off of there!  Who told you that you were the king of the mountain?”  And the baby goat?  He couldn’t have cared less!  For him, it was all about fun!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1990, one of the quirkiest shows ever to appear on television debuted.  “Who killed Laura Palmer?” was the question on everyone’s mind on the night of April 8, 1990, when David Lynch’s surreal television drama Twin Peaks premiered. The naked body of the beautiful blonde homecoming queen was found washed up on a riverbank wrapped in plastic in the show’s opening episode, throwing the residents of the small Pacific Northwestern town of Twin Peaks into a tailspin and kicking off the central plotline of the series.

Shot in and around the logging town of Snoqualmie, Washington, Twin Peaks starred Kyle MacLachlan as the relentlessly quirky Agent Dale Cooper, an FBI agent who arrives in Twin Peaks to help the local police (led by Michael Ontkean as Sheriff Harry S. Truman) unravel the mystery of Palmer’s murder. He soon discovers that she was not the golden girl she seemed, but in fact had hidden vices such as drug abuse and promiscuity. As the story unfolds, Laura’s boyfriend Bobby (Dana Ashcroft), secret lover James (James Marshall), good-girl best friend Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle), grieving father Leland (Ray Wise) and look-alike cousin Maddy (Sheryl Lee, who also played Palmer in flashbacks) become some of the pivotal supporting characters in a large ensemble cast.

Before developing Twin Peaks with his partner, Mark Frost, Lynch gained notice for films such as The Elephant Man (1980) and Blue Velvet (1986), which also starred MacLachlan. ABC brass commissioned Lynch and Frost to create Twin Peaks as part of a larger strategy to turn the network’s reputation and profit margin around by putting new and original shows on TV. A soap opera mixed with a police investigation, plus a healthy dash of Lynchian weirdness, Twin Peaks was hyped even before its debut for its movie-quality directing, including cinematic pacing, complex themes and character development and eccentric humor.

Preceded by an avalanche of publicity, the two-hour Twin Peaks pilot aired on April 8, 1990, and was seen by 33 percent of the television audience, a season high for a TV movie. When the show began airing as a regular one-hour drama on Thursday nights, it earned the network’s highest ratings in several years and was able to cut into the huge audience of NBC’s long-running hit Cheers. Though ratings soon began dropping, the buzz surrounding the series remained strong, as critics called it the best new show in years. The show received eight Emmy nominations for its first season, more than any other series, but won only two awards.

Lynch retained tight control over the show for the eight-episode run of its first season, handpicking directors that he had worked with before or knew through other colleagues. During the second season, the myriad cryptic plot twists had audiences tuning out in droves, however, and the quality of the show was generally believed to have deteriorated. When ABC pulled the plug on the show in mid-1991, Lynch was forced to reveal the identity of Palmer’s killer, a mystery he had wanted to spin out over a number of years, according to an interview he later gave Entertainment Weekly. After the show ended its run in June 1991, Lynch directed a poorly received big-screen prequel, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me(1992).

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  The first woman to run for U.S. president was Victoria Woodhull, who campaigned for the office in 1872 under the National Woman’s Suffrage Association. While women would not be granted the right to vote by a constitutional amendment for nearly 50 years, there were no laws prohibiting a woman from running for the chief executive position.

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