Thursday, August 30, 2007

Let the Season Begin

Today I received my 2007 University of Oregon Football Media Guide.It's 208 pages of Oregon Duck Football with coach Mike Bellotti on the cover. First game is this Saturday, September 1st, in Eugene against the Houston Cougars. I will be there. Are you ready for some football? Go Ducks!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Thank You!

Now that I have competed our travelogue of our trip to England and France my wife and I want to thank our daughter who made it all possible. We are lucky parents. Not many adult children would want to share a hotel room for 9 days with their parents. Without her planning and inspiration it would not have happened. Now she and her brother are off to the Oregon vs Michigan football game in Ann Arbor on September 8th. Go Ducks!

Wickre Travelogue (August 24th and 25th)

THE LONG TRIP HOME! The hotel airport shuttle picked us up at 9:00 a.m. - wild van ride with Pakistani driver through narrow streets of Paris to pick up other passengers - airport drop off - Charles de Gaulle Airport very crowded and confusing. Lots of security . United flight took off on time - very long flight - arrives in Washington DC, Dulles Airport, on time - We said good by to our daughter who got off there. We then had a long wait through customs and then reclaim baggage and go through and recheck bags - go through security. Very confusing and lots of angry passengers. I am stopped and my carry-on bag searched - Churchill statue taken out and looked at.(see below). Flight from Washington DC left just a little late due to some weather, landed at San Francisco (SFO) just about 15 - 20 minutes late. We then went to Medford gate to see if we could change Sat a.m. flight to Fri. night flight, put on standby for 8:30 and 10:40 flights to Medford. - no good, spend the night in airport. Interesting experience, my wife dozed a little but I stayed awake. Read book. Appear to be 3 other stranded travelers spending the night in the concourse we were in. Air conditioning very cold - fortunately had a blanket. Services in airport start opening around 5 a.m. We have a full breakfast at 5:30 a.m. - tasted very good. Had some fresh fruit with it. We lacked fruits and veges on trip. Boarded plane, landed in Medford about 9:15 a.m. - retrieved luggage which arrived the night before - got taxi home - arrived about 10:00 a.m. Good to be home!Medford sure looked good on the ride home from the airport. Everything is OK at home and our cat Gabby is happy to see us. Even with all the hassles of traveling it's amazing how little time it actually takes to get from Paris France to Medford, Oregon. We take modern air travel for granted sometimes.

Wickre Travelogue (August 23rd)

Up very early for our 6:30 a.m. pick up for trip to Normandy and WW II sites. The touring company had a van that carried 8 passengers. There was a couple from Seattle, couple from Boston and a man from Maryland also in van. Francis the driver and guide - very nice. He gave us a historical background to D-Day very much from the French perspective.Drove about 1 hour 45 min. and stopped for coffee, rolls, restroom. Another 1 1/2 hour to the Normandy coast. Our first stop was Ponte du Hoc where American rangers on D-Day scaled the bluffs against strong German opposition. then we went to Bloody Omaha Beach. I was able to get a small jar of sand. We then drove to the American Cemetery on the bluff over looking Omaha. We paid our respects to those that gave so much! We then drove through lots of villages, stopped for lunch at village by the sea - went to WWII museum and then back on road to Paris - about a 2 hour drive - driver drives very fast. Got back to hotel about 6:30 p.m. Went out to dinner and had a very nice dinner our last night in Paris. Forgot to mention running into torrential downpours on our drive back to Paris. This was our last full day in France and it was special to go to Normandy. It was also a chance to see some of the French countryside. For the most part the French were nice to these Americans who speak very little French. There were some that had a chip on their shoulder but they were a minority.

Wickre Travelogue (August 22nd)

Got up late, had breakfast at 11:00 a.m. at "our restaurant" L Ecole Militaire where we had breakfast on Tuesday. Caught a taxi to the Louver - very, very crowded, raining outside, spent 2 hours, saw the Mona Lesa the Venus De Milo and the famous painting from the French Revolution of the storming the barricades. Then off to Saint Chapelle, late lunch while pouring rain, then to Notre Dame Cathedral - pouring rain, cathedral beautiful, left cathedral - pouring rain, spent time looking for taxi or metro - found both at the same time - took taxi - taxi driver had dog with him, very cute, saw many dogs on the streets of Paris compared to only a couple in London. Back to hotel - tired, very wet and cold, took hot shower. Too wet, cold and tired to go out for food so ate out of "mini bar" in room.

Wickre Travelogue (August 21st)

We leave our hotel and eat some breakfast at a cafe nearby. Our hotel is also near Napoleon's Tomb so we go there and the French Military museum next to it. We then metro to the Arch de Triumph and strolled down the Champs Elysees - stopped and had sandwich and some wine at sidewalk café - sun is out and only partly cloudy.. so far warmest day of trip (which was not all that warm)... then off walking again. Go into the Paris Nike store (little did I know this is the day it is announced Phil Knight will give 100 million dollars to the UofO Athletic department).Pass the US Embasy but a French Policeman yells at us when my wife tries to take a picture of me with Old Glory in the background. Security I guess! Found chocolate shop our daughter was looking for and then metro to the Musee d Orsay, to view impressionist paintings. I saw Whistler's Mother and Monet paintings. Very crowded. We then walked back to hotel because we couldn't get a taxi (long forced march) and then off to cruise on the Seine and Moulin Rouge show. Seine cruise showed the lights of Paris. Moulin Rouge show packed like sardines but show colorful and 1 1/2 hours long, a vaudeville-like show. They even did the "Can Can" The bus dropped us at our hotel at 2:00 a.m.

Wickre Travelogue (August 20th)

To the Waterloo Station ! Before the invention of the commercial airplane the The Waterloo Station was the main gateway from England to the rest of the continent of Europe. British troops headed for the continent always took a train from that train station. Well, today we were going to take the Eurostar train from the Waterloo Station in London under the English Channel and on to Paris! We checked out of the Sumner Hotel and took a taxi (which was pink) to the Waterloo Station and boarded the Eurostar bound for Paris - make unexpected stop at Lille due to train mechanical problems. Train stopped for about 1 hour. Once in Paris we got a taxi to our hotel. We stayed at the Duquesne Eiffel Hotel near (you got it) the Eiffel Tower. The hotel is not as nice as our London Hotel what with pealing wallpaper in the hall and a general thread bear quality but from our two windows we have a view of the Eiffel tower if you look hard to your left.It's about 5 p.m. when we get settled. We head to the Eiffel Tower. Takes about 1 hour in line to get tickets - then up we go to the second level a spectacular, breath taking view of Paris. We took lots of photos and eat a sandwich and have hot chocolate. The evening is mild and turns cool - especially the wind blowing up on platform - we waited for dark to see the lights of Paris and the Eiffel Tower to lite up - it was beautiful.I see why they call Paris the City of Lights. To be frank, I had some cultural shock upon my first glimpses of Paris but it fades away with the beauty of the city. As we left the Eiffel Tower about 10:00 p.m. and were walking away, the tower was lit with a "light show". It was fun. Then we headed back to hotel happy to be in Paris.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Wickre Travelogue (August 19th)

we are up for breakfast at 9:00 at hotel - We then took the tube to Green Park and Buckingham Palace and waited up on the Queen Victoria statue area for the changing of the guards. it's raining hard - lets up some, guard changing shortened - no band due to rain. Spent about 1 1/2 - 2 hours there. We then left and
walked through Green Park,and then took tube to Harrods Department Store. The place reminded me as a combination of the downtown Portland Myer & Frank store and the Forum Shops a Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. There is an opera singer singing on a balcony overlooking the escalators. Saw the Princess Diana memorial , had some pastries & tea, shopped 3 hours. We then had dinner at a 1950's American style dinner at Harrods and talked to our waitress from Australia. She laughed at us as we sang with the 1950's Rock and Roll music on the jute box. We then took the tube to St. Paul's Cathedral, walked around, saw the Old Bailey Criminal Courts and took the tube back to hotel and packed for Paris.

Wickre Travelogue (August 18th)

We walked a long way through Mayfair to Buckingham Palace. On the way we walked past the U. S. Embassy. Unfortunately there was no changing of the guards today at Buckingham palace. Went shopping at the Royal gift shop. Walked to "Alberts" a pub frequented by MPs - had traditional fish and chips. Walked forever to "tube" & got off because tube was running slow and was packed. Walked on Oxford Street. Very crowded with people shopping. I stopped at a very large music store and bought a CD of the sound track to John Wayne's "The Searchers" and the 2 CD sound track to "American Graffiti" (Much less than in the US). Best of all the Paul Simon CD he recorded in London in 1965 when he went with out Art Garfunkel and sang on street corners and coffee shops before he was a star. Only Simon and his guitar. Very simple basic folk versions of later hits such as "I am a Rock". Then went back to hotel - rested for 2 1/2 - 3 hours - took the tube to The Palladium Theater and the Andrew Loyd Weber Production of "The Sound of Music." It was pouring rain - lots of people. Saw the Sound of Music which was fantastic. The theater was beautiful, the production was great, Mother Abyss was fabulous, Maria excellent - very enjoyable. The audience was mostly older English people. We sat in front of three couples who when they talked reminded me of the old English movies I watched on TV in the 1950's and 1960's. Back to bed by 11:30 p.

Wickre Travelogue (August 17th)

This was a day I had been looking forward to for a long time.I was going to tour the home of one of my all time hero's.
We were picked up at 9 a.m. at our hotel by Neil of Backroads Tours. He drove us to Chartwell in Kent. This was Churchill's home from the beginning of his "Wilderness Years" between World War I and II until his death in 1965. It took about an hour to get out of London and then about another 1/2 hour to a village near Chartwell.In the center of the town square was a large statute of Churchill. We got out of the van and wandered around the village for about 30 minutes. We then went
to Chartwell and spent about 3 hours touring the house where he wrote many of his books , the studio studio where he painted, the gardens he helped design surrounded by the brick walls he built AND the gift shop where I bought a statue of Churchill (see below). You could almost smell his cigars. We ate some lunch there and then drove to Dover. We visited the Battle of Britain Memorial to the RAF and saw the "white cliffs of Dover" - could see France across the channel. It was a day I will never forget. We arrived back at the hotel about 7 p.m. - 2 hour drive from Dover. Went out to dinner to "Black and Blue" restaurant in London. Back to hotel and bed about 9:30 - 10:00 p.m. Weather - cool - mid 60's, some clouds, some sun, some sprinkles.

Wickre Travelogue (August 16th)

After a good nights sleep the three of us headed by subway (tube) to Parliament for a private tour. Our daughter had made arrangements for the tour through a friend in Washington DC who is friends with an aide/staffer to a British Member of Parliament. The aide/staffer met us at the entrance where we had to go through security which included a pat down search. The British have had to deal with the IRA for years and know security.

The aid/staffer gave us a thorough tour of Parliament. We went onto the floor of the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Rubbed the foot of the Churchill statue. We then had lunch on the Parliament Terrance overlooking the Thames with the Aide/staffer's Member of Parliament (MP) who is member of the Conservative (Tory) Shadow Cabinet.
You cannot be on terrace without an MP. He was very nice and talkative. We took pictures with him. We then went to Westminster Abby and toured. We saw the grave of Queen Elizabeth I.
We then went a few blocks to
Churchill Bunker Museum. This is where Churchill and his war cabinet directed the British war effort during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz and the rest of World War II. We spent several hours there and had a snack in the canteen. I loved the place and it's history and of course had a good time at the gift shop and bought a 2 CD set of Churchill's World War II speeches. We then walked up along St. James Park to the horse guards area , walked down Whitehall to #10 Downing Street which was barricaded but we could see #10. The British used to run their vast empire from their bureaucracy located along Whitehall Street. As they said "the sun never set on the British Empire". We then walked up to Trafalgar Square commemorating Nelsons victory at Trafalgar during the Napoleonic Wars., walked us Pall Mall Street where all the old stuffy English Gentleman's clubs are located to Piccadilly Circus (their Times Square), then took the "tube" to Marble Arch near our hotel. We ate at an Italian restaurant "Pezzo" and then to the hotel by 9 p.m.

Wickre Travelogue (August 14-15)

We started our great adventure to Europe at 7 AM on Tuesday August 14, 2007 when a friend picked us up and took us to the Medford-Jackson County Airport for our 9:30 AM flight from Medford to San Francisco (SFO) on United Express. We arrived at SFO and my wife talked to a United employee and found we could take a shuttle from United's domestic concourse over to their international concourse without having to go back through security. We got to the gate for our United Airlines flight to London Heathrow and were greeted by a women United employee who didn't want to talk to anyone.She was very officious. At 1 PM we got on our flight to London. This was a very long flight and the seats were very hard in economy class. The service was good and the food was OK but certainly not bad. The in flight movies were Spider Man 3 and Shriek something and I didn't watch ether. We had bought blow-up pillows that hug the neck and it was a good investment. I listened to my MP3 player for much of the trip and or tried to sleep. We arrived in London early in the morning their time and when we got to passport control we saw our daughter about 60 people in front of us. She had flown in from Washington DC and arrived 15 minutes before us. We met up after we cleared customs and then got our luggage. All of our luggage made it!!!! We then got a taxi to take us to our hotel. The driver had a very "cockney" accent but was very friendly. He didn't know where Oregon was as was the case with most people we met. We said it was on the West Coast just above California. Everyone knows were California is. We found out that he was a big fan of one of our favorite TV shows "House MD" which is apparently shown over there too. He dropped us of at our Hotel The Sumner near Marble Arch and near Oxford Street, one of the main shopping streets in London. It was now about 9 AM on Wednesday August 15th. It was too early to check into our room but they agreed to hold our luggage till we could move in.

The Sumner Hotel is a boutique hotel of about 20 rooms with a very friendly staff. I later found out that most of the staff was from Poland. Everyone was genuinely friendly and helpful and I would highly recommend this hotel. Our room was small but well maintained. They had a good breakfast for us each morning and free Internet in the lobby. A very nice place and close to a grocery stores and restaurants. Each day they had the weather forecast in the Lobby. (rainy).

After checking our bags at the hotel we jumped on a "hop on- hop off" double decker bus for a tour of London. The tour guide on this first trip was very good. We were tired after the long overnight flight but went to the top of the bus for a tour that kept the wind in our face. It was a good overview of London. We got off at the Tower of London and purchased a guided tour from a Beefeater guide. We learned a lot of English history.... lots of beheading..... and then had lunch at a cafe overlooking the Tower of London. We then took the bus back to the hotel and checked into our room. The hotel staff had already moved our luggage to the room. We changed clothes and took off for more of the Hop on Hop off bus tour and ran into a driver who was very rude. We got off the bus and walked along the Thames River and stopped for dinner at the Sherlock Homes Pub and Restaurant. The place had lots of Sherlock Homes memorabilia and a nice mock up of Home's study. We had a traditional English dinner of beef and hot tea. We then took the subway (Tube) back to our hotel after we each bought subway fare cards to use for our stay in London. We then went to sleep after having been up for about 48 hours. In the next addition to this travelogue I will write about our trip to Parliament.

(Click on the title above for a link to The Sumner Hotel's web site.)

Monday, August 27, 2007

"Winston is Back"

This is the 12 inch statue of Winston Churchill I purchased at the gift store at Chartwell, Churchill's home in Kent,England. It was the last one they had in stock. I was so afraid it would get broken on the flights home I put it in my "carry on." I had no problem going through security on the Euro star train between London and Paris or the security at the Paris airport. However when I got to Dulles airport in Washington DC they made me open up my bag so they could inspect it. Fortunately the inspector was a nice guy and did not require me to "check it".

This is a cold-cast resin bronze of Winston Churchill created for Members and Friends of the International Churchill Society by the sculptor Peter Hicks.

On September 1st. 1939 Germany invaded Poland. Two days later Britain and France declared war on Germany. The following day Mr. Churchill joined the Government as First Lord of the Admiralty, the post he had occupied at the outbreak of the First World War. Churchill had been out of office for eleven years. On hearing of his appointment the Board of the Admiralty immediately signalled the Fleet, 'Winston is back'.

This statue measures 12 inches tall and it will be a family heirloom. It can also be purchased on line through Winston Churchill Shop. com. For a link click on the title above.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Home from Europe

Yesterday my wife and I returned home from our trip to England and France. It was a great adventure. The planning for the trip started last year when our daughter called and asked me If I wanted to go with her to London in August. She knows her mother doesn't like big cities and so didn't think she would want to go. However she also wanted to go so her mother and I met her in London about two weeks ago. We had a good time in London and then took the Euro Star train to Paris and spent a few days there and then flew home on Friday. I will devote further posts to more details of the trip but here is a list of my top 10 things we did.

1. Had a private tour of Parliament in London. Our daughter who works in Washington DC was able to arrange for a tour of Parliament and we were able to get on to both the floor of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. We then had lunch with a Member of Parliament (a Conservative party member) on the Parliament Terrace that overlooks the Themes River.

2. Went to Winston Churchill's home at Chartwell and took a tour. You could almost smell his cigars. He loved the place and it was wonderful to visit the home of one of my hero's. While there I "invested" in a 12" statue of Churchill titled "Winston is Back" It is now on the shelf with my collection of Churchill books in a honored place in our dinning room.

3. Near Parliament went to the underground bunker Churchill and the British Cabinet used to run the war during the Battle of Brittan.

4. Had a guide drive us, after Chartwell, to the White Cliffs of Dover on the English Channel. It was a clear day and we could see France. While there we saw the Battle of Britain Memorial to the RAF.It was very moving.

5. Went to the Palladium in London and saw Sr Andrew Loyd Weber's production of the musical "Sound of Music"

6. In Paris spent about 4 hours on the second level of the Eiffel Tower and watched the lights come on in the "City of Lights"! It was awesome.

7. Had a guide take us to Omaha Beach in Normandy and got a small bottle of the sand. Saw the graves of two of Teddy Roosevelt's sons who are buried there. One who died in WWI and the second, a Congressional Medal of Honor winner, from WW II.

8. Saw Napoleon's Tomb.

9 Saw the Arc De Triumph and walked down the Champs Elysees.

10. Saw the Louver and the Mona Lesa.

What really made the trip special was the quality time we spent with our daughter. We only wish our son could have gone too. It rained much of the trip but it was special adventure.In future posts I will write about spending the night on the way back at the San Francisco Airport, our boat trip on the Seine and the Moulin Rouge

BTW, on my return I learned about Phil Knights giving the University of Oregon Athletic Department 100 million dollars. For some reason CNN International, which we got at our Paris Hotel, did not report this story. Go Ducks. Less than a week till the first football game. Life is Good!

Friday, August 10, 2007

The English Channel

The channel has been the key natural defence for Britain, allowing the nation to intervene at will but rarely be dangerously threatened in European conflicts, the most notable threats being from Napoleon during the Napoleonic Wars, and Nazi Germany during the World War II. It has also been the scene of a number of other invasions and attempted invasions, including the Roman conquest of Britain, the Norman Conquest in 1066, the Spanish Armada in 1588, and the Normandy landings in 1944.

Nowadays, many travellers cross beneath the English Channel using the Channel Tunnel. This engineering feat, first proposed in the early 19th century and finally realised in 1994, connects the UK and France by rail. It is now routine to travel between Paris, Brussels and London on the Eurostar train.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms

When in London you can visit the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms

Shortly after becoming Prime Minister in May 1940, Winston Churchill visited the Cabinet War Rooms to see for himself what preparations had been made to allow him and his War Cabinet to continue working throughout the expected air raids on London. It was there, in the underground Cabinet Room, he announced 'This is the room from which I will direct the war'.

The Churchill Museum and the Cabinet War Rooms share premises in Horse Guards Road opposite St. James's Park in central London, England which are part of the basement of what is now HM Treasury. The War Rooms were constructed in 1938 and were heavily used by Winston Churchill during World War II. Engineered as a bunker, the facility was equipped with a steel-reinforced "roof". However, the Cabinet War Rooms were vulnerable to a direct hit and were abandoned not long after the war. They were opened to the public in 1984 and are now maintained by the Imperial War Museum.

The section of the War Rooms open to the public is only a portion of a much larger facility. They originally covered three acres (12,000 m²) and housed a staff of up to 528 people, with facilities including a canteen, hospital, shooting range and dormitories. The centrepiece of the War Rooms is the Cabinet Room itself, where Churchill's War Cabinet met. The Map Room is located nearby, from where the course of the war was directed. It is still in much the same condition as when it was abandoned, with the original maps still on the walls and telephones lining the desks. Churchill slept in a small nearby bedroom although, according to the audio presentation in the museum, he only slept in the war rooms for three nights over the course of the war. One feature of the bunker was a telephone scrambler system that allowed Churchill to securely speak with President Roosevelt in the White House. The unit was concealed as the Prime Minister's lavatory.

The Map Room at the Cabinet War Rooms.The Cabinet War Rooms have recently undergone a major expansion and been rebranded as the "Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms". In 2003, nine rooms used by Churchill and his closest associates, including his wife, which had been stripped out after the war and used for storage, were added to the museum. These rooms are known as "The Churchill Suite". The Churchill Museum itself opened in February 2005. It is a chronological exhibition telling the story of Churchill's public and private life, using original and facsimile objects and documents and interactive display techniques. Entry to the Churchill Museum and the Cabinet War Rooms is by combined ticket.

For more information click on the title for a link to the museums web site.

Churchill & Chartwell

Winston Churchill once said "A day away from Chartwell is a day wasted." It was his favorite place on earth. Chartwell was purchased by Churchill as his home outside of London during the "Wilderness Years" while he was out of power between World War I and II.

In 1945, after World War II, Churchill feared that his income was no longer sufficient to allow him to maintain Chartwell and a consortium of wealthy friends offered to purchase the property on behalf of the National Trust, on condition that he could continue to live there, at a nominal rent of £350 a year, for the rest of his life. There is some dispute over the purchase price. Sir Martin Gilbert in the Official Biography (Volume VIII, page 304) quotes £43,800 but in Churchill: A Life, page 873, he cites £50,000. Most other sources quote the higher figure. That would have been a fair return on Churchill's total expenditure on the property over more than 20 years, and by the time he died in 1965 its value would have appreciated to over £100,000. In today's money that is in excess of £1 million but, it is stressed, this is merely a "bricks and acres" value and its historical associations and contents are priceless.

Churchill lived there until his death in 1965 at age 90.

Someday I will make my pilgrimage to Chartwell.

For more information on Churchill and Chartwell click on the title for a link to the Churchill Center web site..

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Yank In London!

The Yanks are coming.... the Yanks are coming!

If you are as old as I am you remember a fun song by Roger Miller called "England Swings"

"England swings like a pendulum do bobbies on bicycles two by two
Westminster Abbey the Tower of Big Ben the rosy red cheeks of the little children
Now if you huff and puff and you fin'ly save enough
Money up to take your family on a trip across the sea...."

To read the entire lyrics of "London Swings" click on the title for a link.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Bourne Ultimatum **

Sunday morning my wife and I went to see the Bourne Ultimatum at Tinseltown in Medford. The movie is a well made movie . However, we both felt the sound was too loud and I dislike the quick camera cuts that is the current fad of many movie directors. It was a FICTIONAL story about the CIA. The folks at do a good job of pointing out the movies liberal bias when they post the following:

Perhaps we should have expected this but apparently The Bourne Ultimatum which opened this weekend is chock full of liberal proganda. So who is making this charge? Some vicious rightwinger with an axe to grind against liberal Hollywood producers? Nope. This is the claim of a liberal movie reviewer, Anthony Kaufman, who wrote the following in his Huffington Post blog, Jason Bourne: An Anti-Cheney American Hero?

A stinging rebuke against Cheney-esque black ops and torture tactics, Universal Pictures' The Bourne Ultimatum is more than just a heart-stopping international espionage thriller: It is Hollywood's most direct attack against the Bush Regime since George Clooney's one-two punch of Good Night and Good Luck and Syriana. If those more "sophisticated" dramas preached to the choir about our deteriorating civil liberties and oil-fueled overseas obsessions, the third film in the mega-successful Bourne action franchise offers up a picture of corrupt clandestine leadership for all to see -- where every Matt Damon fan can also enjoy high-powered American government officials as arch-villains committing treasonous and reckless activities without oversight.

In case we have any doubts that The Bourne Ultimatum is a liberal fantasy, Kaufman "reassures" us that it is:

But is the film really a liberal fantasy, where the bad CIA leaders get punished for their penchant for waterboarding, "experimental interrogations," "rendition" and the manipulation of American soldiers' minds with intimidation and humiliation? It sure seems so, as bullish Rumsfeld-like strategies are depicted as inept, while the sensitive, sympathetic touch of Joan Allen's CIA head Pamela Landy is shown as the most effective way to combat renegade forces. If conservatives like to label Tinseltown as leftwing, The Bourne Ultimatum should do little to assuage their concerns.

To read the rest of the News Busters post click on the title for a link. With all the evil in the world why does Hollywood love to make the U. S. Government and the CIA the bad guys. I have my complains about the bureaucratic bound CIA, but, as imperfect as the CIA is they are the ones attempting to protect us in a dangerous world. This movie is in fact a liberal Fantasy. Hopefully most move goers will just enjoy the car chases and the good old fashioned violence.(sarcasm)

Duck Fall Training camp Opens!

Today, Fall practice starts for the University of Oregon Duck football team. The Ducks open with Houston on Saturday September 1st at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. Lots to make up for after last season. I will be there. Go Ducks!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

"The Passing of the Armies" by Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

Today I went shopping for a paperback book to read on a long airplane flight and I picked up at Fred Meyer, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain's "The Passing of the Armies"

According to "The Passing of the Armies" is a Civil War memoir written by Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a renowned commander most famous for his actions on Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg. It is an autobiographical account describing Chamberlain's experiences throughout the latter half of the Civil War, on and off the battlefield. It follows his accounts through Petersburg, White Oak Road, Five Forks, and Appomattox (where Chamberlain was given the honor of accepting the Confederate surrender). Throughout the book, Chamberlain frequently expresses his respect for the soldiers of both the Confederacy and the Union. It was published by Putnam and Sons in 1915, a year after Chamberlain's death.

It looked like such a good book I decided I couldn't wait till the airplane ride and started to read the book. Chamberlain won the Congressional Medal of Honor and saved the Union on the second day of Gettysburg when he and the 20th Maine held the end of the Union line at the Little Round Top. When his unit ran out of ammunition he ordered a bayonet charge against the attacking Confederate's to save the day and Union. A few years ago my son and I visited the spot at Gettysburg where the 20th Maine held the line. This book takes place much later in the war. Chamberlain was a college professor who volunteered to fight for the Union and by the end of the war had risen to the rank of General. He was chosen by U.S. Grant to accept the surrender of the Confederate army at Appomattox. He ends the book in Washington DC after the Grand Review of The Army of the Potomac and writes about the disbanding of the army. His words send chills down my spine.

To resume the narrative, on the first day of July, while encamped before Washington, we received an order, which, though expected, moved us most deeply. The first paragraph was this:


"June 28, 1865.

"By virtue of special orders, No. 339, current series, from the Adjutant General's office, this army, as an organization, ceases to exist."

What wonder that a strange thrill went through our hearts.

Ceases to exist! Are you sure of that? We had lately seen the bodily form of our army, or what remained of it, pass in majesty before the eyes of men; while part of it was left planted on the slopes of the Antietam, on the heights of Gettysburg, in the Wilderness, on the far-spread fields and lonely roadsides of all Virginia,—waiting the Resurrection.

The splendor of devotion, glowing like a bright spirit over those dark waters and misty plains, assures us of something that cannot die! The sacrifice of the mothers who sent such sons was of the immortal. All this must have been felt by those who gave the order. The War Department and the President may cease to give the army orders, may disperse its visible elements, but cannot extinguish them. They will come together again under higher bidding, and will know their place and name. This army will live, and live on, so long as soul shall answer soul, so long as that flag watches with its stars over fields of mighty memory, so long as in its red lines a regenerated people reads the charter of its birthright, and in its field of white God's covenant with man.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, The Passing of the Armies: The Last Campaign of the Armies, (Pennsylvania: Stan Clark Military Books, 1994), pp. 390-392.

James McPerson in his forward to the book says Chamberlain lived forty-nine years after Appomattox--- most of them in pain from the wound he suffered at Petersburg. He served four terms as governor of Maine and a dozen years as president of Bowdoin College. "yet somehow those years seemed anticlimactic, as if the passing of the armies in 1865 represented the passing of a part of his life that could never be equaled."

Little did he know that he would, over a 100 years later, be featured in Michael Shaara's novel "The Killer Angels" and two movies... "Gettysburg" and "Gods and Generals."