Sunday, December 30, 2012

MOVIE: Lincoln (2012) ******

This afternoon my son and I went to see the Steven Spielberg film "Lincoln."  It was my second viewing and our sons third.  For me it was a powerful and emotional experience.  For years I have decried the lack of a good theatrical  movie devoted to Abraham Lincoln. The last was John Ford's "Young Mr. Lincoln" from 1939 that dealt with his early life before the Presidency.  Well, my wish has been granted and Spielberg has made a great film that will be viewed for generations. 

Lincoln for me is more than a great man he is someone I look to in times of stress.  I sometime am jealous of those who are religious and can look to their religion for strength. For me I look to Abraham Lincoln who held this country together and helped to erase the stain of slavery upon our honor as a country. I see in his example that we can bear almost any burden that life gives us with dignity and humor. 

There is not a bad scene in the entire movie. When you are my age two hours and thirty minutes is a long time to go without a bathroom break but I have done it twice not wanting to miss any detail. The scene that sticks out in my mind is the emotional argument between Lincoln and his wife near the end of the movie over their dead son and the desire of another son to server his country as a soldier.  It is so painful and sad.  I love  the scenes in the telegraph office of the War Department  as they await the results of a battle and another as Lincoln tries to deal with the issue of peace feelers from the South. There is the scene where Lincoln lays on the floor of the White House  by the fireplace next to his sleeping young son. I could go on and on.  Spielberg artistically and in a unique way deals with The Gettysburg Address, the Second Inaugural Speech, and the events at Ford's Theater. If you love politics, as I do, the debates and vote in the House of Representative on the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution ending slavery are wonderful and inspiring. 

If you don't see another movie in the next 5 years go to Lincoln. For Christmas our son bought me Doris Kearns Goodwin's book "Team of Rivals" that the movie is based in part on. In addition, we have spent the holidays listening  to the CD of the Soundtrack.  When the movie makes it to Blu-ray it will make it into my collection and will sit next to the John Ford classic. 

Thanks Steven Spielberg for this American treasure. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Harry Carey Jr. RIP (May 16, 1921 – December 27, 2012)

One of the  last of the surviving members of the  "John Ford Stock Company" has died. Harry Carey Jr was one of the youngest of the Stock Company that made many movies with John Wayne and the "Old Master" John Ford.  They may be gone but they will live on in the screen images they created. A few years ago I purchased,  online through Carey's website, his biography  "Company of Heroes My life as an actor in the John Ford Stock Company." .  He personally autographed it for me. Some of his great movies with Ford:

 3 Godfathers (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), Wagon Master (1950), Rio Grande (1950), The Long Gray Line (1955); Mister Roberts (1955), The Searchers (1956), Two Rode Together (1961), and Cheyenne Autumn (1964). He also made "Red River" with John Wayne in 1948. Up until the last few years you could always spot him in bit parts in Westerns made into the 1990's

Harry Carey Jr.. was born on May 16, 1921, at the ranch of his parents, actors Olive Carey and Harry Carey. His father gave him the nickname "Dobe" shortly after his birth because the baby's red hair reminded him of the adobe soil at the ranch. Dobe went to school in the Newhall Public Schools, and then went to the Black Foxe Military Institute in Hollywood.....

So long, Dobe!


Leonard Maltin has a wonderful post on"Remembering  Harry Carey Jr."

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

  1. As someone who is Agnostic and a lover of Christmas our son has posted a most thoughtful statement reconciling the two, and with his permission I repose it here:

    The recent events in Connecticut are challenging for the religious skeptic to contemplate: twenty children, barely having experienced existence, lost their lives. While this event has done much to shock the country, it is only a small scratch among troubling deaths that plague the earth every day. Whether it takes place in small events here and there, or mass genocides, ...death is a constant presence. The worst offender isn't even at the hands of fellow humans. Though it is by different means, and often different timing, nature is by far the most prolific killer of the human race; inevitably leaving no one untouched. The net effect is the same. We are given a relatively brief moment of existence only to have it snuffed away. Is the universe really that cruel and perverse?

    Suppose death is not the end of our spirit? Perhaps our souls are given life on earth to experience the travails of survival: hard work, management of finances, interactions with others, and pursuing our own means to contentment and happiness. In an otherley world of care free happiness and love, free will and the burdens of earth are the only ways for the soul to mature and grow. Suppose the children killed in Connecticut lost their lives, but are now in a happier place? Is any crime on earth thus too heinous for forgiveness? Would it not seem ideal that the killer, stripped of his human weaknesses, come to repent and be granted redemption for his hateful actions? Supposedly Jesus asked that his tormentors be forgiven as they knew not what they were doing. Whether real or symbolic, does this not sound right?

    As for life on earth during the Christmas season, perhaps there is a hidden gem. For all those parents across the nation who might normally be worrying about the mortgage, dealing with the in-laws, or worrying about the perfect Christmas present, perhaps they might hug their child a little harder and appreciate the love of family more. I think that’s the true reason for the season.

    This optimistic agnostic wants to wish everyone a Merry Christmas this Holiday season.

    I wish to echo that statement.  I don't know if a "God" existent but if he doesn't he should and even more so this day!  Real or symbolic the Christmas story is a wonderful tale. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Movie: "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946)

Last night our son, who is home for Christmas, and I went to Medford's Tinseltown to see "It's a Wonderful Live" on the big screen.  I have seen the move dozens of times on TV, DVD and own it in Blu-ray but seeing it on the big screen was the most memorable of all my viewings.  A few months ago my wife and I saw Casablanca (1943) at the same theater and while I enjoyed it but it was not the experience I had expected and was a little disappointed.  Not this time........ the experience exceeded my expectations.  One think that I enjoyed is we sat  only about half way up the theater so we had a larger than life view.  The movie sort of enveloped us.  My wife always likes to sit near the back of the theater which I think lessens the experience.   This movie was made before wide screen movies became the norm so it has a smaller picture than more recent movies. After the movie we went home and my son ran my blu-ray copy and the picture was great but even on my "big screen" TV there was not the power of the movie at the theater. It was fun to pick out small details in the movie such as the pictures of Presidents on the walls of the characters homes or offices (Washington, Lincoln, Wilson, Hoover) or the framed butterfly collection that George Bailey inherited from his father.  The look in Jimmy Stewart's face when he realizes he will never get out of Bedford Falls or when he realizes he  loves the  Donna Reed character in the phone scene are haunting. Reed projects a wholesome beauty throughout out the film. It was hard to believe, that in real life, Stewart just a few months before filming this movie was flying bomber raids over Germany in World War II. Some have said the power Stewart brought to the screen was born from that experience. I am not sure, having seen "Mr Smith Goes to Washington" that was made before the war. In any case, this is my favorite Christmas movie.  I will never again listen to the song "Old Lang Syne" without seeing in my mind the town of Bedford Falls gathered at Stewart's home singing the song at the end of the movie.  Call it "Capra Corn" (Directer Frank Capra) if you will, but we need a little of that now more than ever.

From Wikipedia:

Like his contemporary, director John Ford, Capra defined and aggrandized the tropes of mythic America where individual courage invariably triumphs over collective evil. Film historian Richard Griffith speaks of Capra's “ on sentimental conversation and the ultimate benevolence of ordinary America to resolve all deep conflicts.” [48] “Average America” is visualized as "...a still tree lined street, undistinguished frame houses surrounded by modest areas of grass, a few automobiles. For certain purposes it assumed that all real Americans live in towns like this, and so great is the power of myth, even the born city-dweller is likely to believe vaguely that he too lives on this shady street, or comes from it, or is going to.” [49]
There is a strong libertarian streak in Capra's films, a distrust of power wherever it occurs and in whomever it is invested. Young people are won over by the fact that his heroes are uninterested in wealth and are characterized by vigorous ... individualism, a zest for experience, and a keen sense of political and social justice. ... Capra's heroes, in short, are ideal types, created in the image of a powerful national myth.[8]


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Passive Resistence" at Our Schools is Not Enought!

By Oregon State  Represenative  Dennis Richardson:

My heart aches for the families of the 20 children and six adults killed last week in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, and I am frustrated over our failure in America to protect our school children and teachers from future attacks.

Instead of responding to the latest mass murder with calls for more gun control, the real issue should be ensuring the protection of our children and educators from armed psychopaths. Currently, when a killer begins his rampage, the only armed person in the school for at least five minutes after the sound of the first gunshot is the mass murderer.

Training in classroom lock-down techniques is valuable, but passive. Classroom lock-down procedures alone fail to protect the children and adults who continue to be murdered before the police arrive. A police officer in every school is not the answer; a police officer would be the first target of a shooter and the cost would be prohibitive for most school districts.

Lives would be saved by stopping the shooter. Seconds count when the police are five minutes away. It would be simple, inexpensive and enable immediate response after the first gunshot was fired in a school if two or three volunteers in every school (administrators, staff members or teachers), were encouraged to obtain additional training and practice in the use of firearms and were encouraged to have a firearm concealed on their person or locked in their desks. School district employees with prior military or law enforcement experience would be the initial candidates for this voluntary assignment. No one outside of school and district administration would know the identity of these volunteers.

In short, having armed and trained personnel in every school would enable immediate response with lethal force if and when the lives of our children and teachers were endangered by a mass murderer.

If this procedure had been implemented, the number of children killed in every school massacre from Columbine to Sandy Hook would have been greatly reduced. (The same would be true if it were implemented by shopkeepers and mall personnel.) In Israel and Thailand, armed school personnel save the lives of their children. In America, the slaughter of our schoolchildren continues.

This is a call for our school superintendents, board members and principals to face and address the reality that mass murderers are armed with guns, knives, explosives and, as we saw last year in China, even hammers. In 1998 students were killed in Oregon's own Thurston High School. In Sandy Hook Elementary, 26 are dead. The passivist approach of school administrators for the past 14 years has failed to adequately protect our children and teachers.

Candidly, if I were a school administrator or board member and, knowing how these mass murders continue to occur, if I failed to promote preparation for immediate, lethal response in case an attack were to occur in my school, the blood of multiple innocent victims would be on my hands.

The time for passive hand-wringing is past; the time for parents, teachers and other concerned citizens to demand protection for our children and educators is now.

Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, represents District 4 in the Oregon House.

"If I had been a teacher or the principal at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and if the school district did not preclude me from having access to a firearm, either by concealed carry or locked in my desk, most of the murdered children would still be alive, and the gunman would still be dead, and not by suicide."
Dennis Richardson

Monday, December 17, 2012

Home For Christmas

One of the best part of the Christmas Holidays is having our adult children come home. Since they both live in the Eastern time zone we don't get to see them that often during the year. Last night  very late I  picked up our son at the Jackson County "International" Airport. He came in from Lexington Kentucky where he is working on his PhD in History. Next weekend I  will go back to the airport to pick up our daughter who is coming in from Washington D.C.. I love this time of year and the trips to the airport !

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fiesta Bowl and the Oregon Ducks with coach CHIP Kelly

Let's Go Ducks...... Win The Day!

Union Thugs in Michigan

Union thugs in Michigan destroy  a tent with people in it because the disagree with their political point of view!

I have been critical of Union intimidation since I was a teenager growing up in the union stronghold of Coos Bay, Oregon. In those days the Longshoremen and the unions that controlled the saw mills were all powerful.  Unions enforce a type of conformity I really dislike. For the same reason I refused to join a fraternity in collage.

While in Junior High and High school in the 1960's I worked part time after school and on Saturdays as a "stockboy" at a Sprouse Reitz variety story that was  under the control of the Retail Clerks Union.  As a non union employee I could bring merchandise out of the stock room but not put it on display.  One Christmas Eve while the store was full of customers the head of the local union came in and made us close down the store because  the Union contract required  that we close at 5 pm.  Give me a break, I wanted to go home too, but I learned at an early age from my parents that the customer comes first. Needless to say this caused an unhappy Christmas eve for employees and management.

 In high school when  I express my view of Unions I was told by a student that if I didn't keep my mouth shut the union members of our community would boycott my parents sewing and fabric store. I wasn't intimidated! When the clerks of the local Safeway went on strike they had a camera to take picture of people who crossed the picket line as a from of intimidation.  I made sure to go into Safeway each day of the strike (it was next door to Sprouse Reitz) even if I didn't need something.

 I believe that non public employees have the right to organize and join unions but it should be voluntary. No one should be forced to join a union as a condition of employment. That's why I have supported Right to Work laws for the last 50 years. Way to go Michigan!

Monday, December 10, 2012

TV Christmas Movies

I am a sucker for movies about Christmas. This time of year my wife is always watching those, non stop, Christmas movies made for TV on the Lifetime and ABC Family TV cable channels. I will be watching FOX NEWS on the TV in the room where I am and will walk by the TV my wife is watching and will watch a few minutes and I am hooked. It's fun to watch these TV movies because you see actresses and actors (Mostly from canceled TV shows) who you haven't seen for a while, because they are on the down hill slide in their careers, and will work cheep. Once in a while you will see a movie made before an actor became famous. I have gotten so I remember movies they showed last year and the year before. This is the first year my wife has a high definition TV set and we have our new recliner chairs facing it.  So like an "old couple" we sit there in our recliners watching these Christmas movies in our living room with it's "Christmas Overlay." Life is good!

A couple that I have seen this year are:

Love at the Christmas Table (2012)

Family friends Sam and Kat spend every Christmas Eve at the Children's Table. They grow up together, sharing the highs and lows of young adulthood. And at thirty, Sam realizes that Kat is the one...but he's afraid that the past will get in the way. I liked this movie because it follows the two main characters from age 6 or so till their early thirties.  It's a "same time next year" type of movie because you only see them once a year as they grow up on Christmas Eve at the Christmas party thrown by their parents .  The actress that played Winnie Cooper in the "Wonder Years" is the female lead.

Will You Merry Me (2008)

Very funny movie about two family's that get together at Christmas when their adult children meet in New Your and decide there families should meet  before they get married.

Rebecca, from an upper class Los Angeles Jewish family,(liberal) and Henry, from choir-singing, tradition-bound Midwestern roots,(conservative) are in love. Henry pops the question just before Christmas and the kids plan on gathering their families for the holidays in order to surprise them with the good news. The families collide-oops-meet the week of Hanukkah just before Christmas in a small Midwest town. It's a wild, wacky ride of good intentions and missteps as the two families try in vain to respect each others' traditions. It's not long before Rebecca and Henry learn the hardest part about being married might be dealing with each other's in-laws. Lots of Liberal vs Conservative issues such as Rebecca's revulsion that Henry has a "real" rifle in his childhood bedroom for hunting defenseless ducks.

However my favorite movies about Christmas are the classics that were originally shown in theaters. The following is my list of my favorite movies about Christmas. I decided the test for a movie to make the list is have I purchased it on DVD. Here is the list in order of preference in reverse order.

4. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

Stars Chevy Chase in a very funny movie. I see a lot of me and my family in this movie, trying to have the "perfect" Christmas. The scenes with the old folks who come over for Christmas eve dinner reminds me of Uncle Herman and Mrs Hills and others who my folks would invite over for Christmas. They are all gone now but the memories remain. I am sure my son has empathy for Russ who has to help his dad put up the outside Christmas lights.

3. Meet Me in St Louis (1944)

A Judy Garland classic. About an upper middle class family in turn of the century St Louis ( young folks the one in 1900). The movie focus in on a group of young people (They didn't call them teenagers then) who are excited about the coming of the Worlds Fair to St Louis and their trials and loves. The dad, who is a lawyer, gets a job at a prestigious firm in New York and causes a crisis that hits it's boiling point at Christmas. Garland sings "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" that is a show stopper and is one of those moments you never forget.

2. White Christmas (1954)

What can I say, Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney in a movie about two GI's from World War II that want to help out the general of their division who is now the owner of a lodge in New England that has fallen on tough times. Crosby and Kaye are Broadway writer and producers who decide to put on a Christmas show at the lodge and have it shown nationwide on TV on something like the Ed Sullivan Show. Rosemary Clooney has never looked better. A classic 1950's movie that says a lot about the times and in glorious color. of course, Bing sings "White Christmas."World War II was still fresh in the minds of most who saw this movie when it first came out in 1954.

1. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

The Jimmy Stewart, Frank Capra classic about a guy who gives up his dream of college and travel to stay in his small home town and makes it a better place. I never tire of this movie. The Christmas decorations in this movie remind me of the decorations we had when I was a kid. Next to The Duke, Jimmy Stewart was and is my favorite.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

For John

  • We're gonna have the best-looking house in town, Russ. Unravel these. We need to check every bulb. Oops. Little knot here, you can work on that.

Friday, December 07, 2012

2012 Holiday Movies UPDATED

One of the best parts of the Holidays, along with collage football bowl games, is taking the family to the movies at a local theater. Hollywood likes to release good movies for the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year Holiday period because people have more time for going to the movies and in most parts of the country outside activities are limited because of the weather. After spending lots of time inside with relatives at home it is liberating to get out of the house and go to a movie. The following is the release date and names of some movies I would like to see.

November 9th


The new James Movie is very good.  I have seen it once but could be dragged back for a second viewing.


I have seen it and I want to see it again when our son is home.  This is his area of study and he has already seen it twice.  He knows the back story on all the major and minor historical characters and I want to see it again in any case. A fine movie to be treasured about one of my hero's.

November 16


I love costume drama's and would love to see this on the big screen.  If not, it will be on blu-ray soon enough.

November 21


Can wait for blu-ray but would go if someone twisted my arm.  Conservative love this story and I am a Conservative. Just wish they had kept the bad guys the Chinese Communists instead of the North Koreans. 

November 23


Love movies about movies.

December 7


Bill Murray does a serious role of FDR,about the visit of the King of England to his home at Hyde Park.  Same king as in The Kings Speech. Love history and politics so this is a natural  Apparently show Roosevelt as not a perfect person!

December 19


Yes, the Jimmy Stewart classic is coming to a big screen near you for this one day only.  I own it on blu-ray but have never seen it in a theater and our son will be home for the Holiday's by then and we both love this movie.


Yes, I know, Barbra Streisand is in this movie but I can separate her political views from her acting ability.  Love "road pictures" .  This one about a mother who joins her son on a road trip.


Hunt to kill Osama bin laden!  Who wouldn't enjoy that.

December 21


Based upon the Jack Kerouac 1957 novel of the same name.  I said I like "road pictures" and this is a classic and the novel was the start of the beatniks. Hope it plays in Medford, but may have to go to Ashland.  May be too out of the mainstream for Medford's Tinseltown.

Christmas Day - December 25


The expected "block buster" of the Christmas Holidays and looks like a big budget musical, historical, consume drama all rolled into one.  Will be fun.


Billy Crystal and Bette Midler are grandparents who become temporary guardians of their grandchildren.  Could be very funny and is more in keeping with my idea of Christmas entertainment. Love Billy Crystal.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Love this TV Commericial

Gettysburg Address in Movies

"Mr Smith Goes to Washington" 1939 at Lincoln Memorial

"Ruggles of Red Gap" 1935

"Charles Laughton. His soup-to-nuts recitation of the celebrated speech is the unexpected highlight of Ruggles of Red Gap, a 1935 screwball Western that time has relegated to the semi-shadows. It’s a beautifully understated performance that manages to illuminate the meaning of each and every word. (It also makes me more forgiving of the film’s early minutes, when Laughton’s portrayal of a very proper English butler succumbs to a silver-candelabra-up-the-heiner level of broadness.)
Just as impressive is director Leo McCarey‘s decision to set the scene atop a giddy vaudeville routine featuring a saloon full of clueless cowboys and barkeeps. It’s a ton of fun."

And at the new Steven Spielberg Movie " Lincoln" 2012 at a theater near your.

In each case it is not done by an actor portraying Lincoln but by someone deeply influenced by it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Medfords "Civil War" lunch

The picture is from the Mail Tribune newspaper but the Duck is mine!
From Mail Tribune news story:
Some 300 fans — more Ducks than Beavers — wore the colors of either Oregon or Oregon State, sang their respective fight songs and either spoke confidently or listened to speakers who did likewise during a festive ceremony at Rogue Valley Country Club.

gearing up for the 116th meeting of the two schools — who this season have only three losses between them — at noon Saturday at Reser Stadium in Corvallis.

Link to read more:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"Civil War" Week: Oregon vs Oregon State

Let's get this week off to a start:

Steven Spielberg & John Ford

I saw Lincoln ( 2012) yesterday and it is one of the finest movies ever made about  the person in American History I admire this most. It was long overdue that a new movie be make on Abraham Lincoln the greatest of American Presidents. Thank you Steven Spielberg! Your are continuing the work of Director John Ford in bringing history to the cinema in a real and meaningful way. I won't give my review of Lincoln other than I will get it on Blu-ray.  Ir brought to life a portion of the life of Abraham Lincoln and should get Best Picture, Best Director for Spielberg,  Best Actor for Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln, Best Actress for Sally Field, as Mary Lincoln, Best Supporting Actor, for David Strathairn as William Seward, and Best Cinematography for Janusz Kaminski, plus Academy Awards for others who contributed to this masterpiece.

This film joins a body of work of Spielberg that taken as a whole covers the sweep of history. Such films as:

Empire of the Sun (1978) World War II in Asia

Schindler's List (1993) World War II

Armistad (1997) 1839 America and Slavery

Saving Private Ryan (1998) D-Day and World War II

Band of Brother (2001) World War II in Europe. Producer

Into the West (2005) The American West

Flags of Our Fathers (2006) World War II in the Pacific. Producer

The Pacific (2010) World War II. Producer

War Horse (2011) World War I

Lincoln (2012) American Civil War & ending slavery

Director John Ford did the same thing a generation before with such films as:

The Iron Horse (1924) Building the transcontinental rail road

Prisoner of Shark Island (1936)  post Lincoln assassination

Mary of Scotland (1936)

Stagecoach (1939) the American West

Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

Drums Along the Mohawk (1939) American Revolutionary War

The Grapes of Wrath (1940) The American Depression

How Green Was My Valley (1941) turn of the twentieth century in the South Wales coalfield

World War II Documentaries ( December 7th , Battle of Midway, & Torpedo Squadron"

They Were Expendable (1942) American PT Boats in the defense of the Philippines in World War II

My Darling Clementine (1946) The gunfight at the OK Corral

Fort Apache (1948) The U.S. Cavalry  in the American West

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) the U.S. Cavalry in the American West

Rio Grande (1949) the last of the U.S. Cavalry Trilogy.

The Quiet Man (1952) Ireland

The Long Gray Line (1955) West Point

The Searchers (1956) The American West

The Last Hurrah (1958) Boston Politics

The Horse Soldiers (1959) the American Civil War

Sergeant Rutledge (1960) Race relations in the American West post Civil War

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) the ending of the American West

How the West Was Won (1962) the battle of Shiloh during the American Civil War

Cheyenne Autumn (1964) The treatment of American Indians in the West.

When Spielberg was a teenager he met Director John Ford and here is a video of Spielberg talking about it:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Movie:“Young Mr. Lincoln” (1939)

Henry Fonda at a young Abraham Lincoln
Steven Spielberg's new movie "Lincoln" is opening this week. Therefore, it's a good time to look back on Director John Ford's "Young Mr. Lincoln" from 1939. Richard Brody of the New Yorker writes:

Abraham Lincoln loomed large in the imagination of the director John Ford, as seen in the 1939 drama “Young Mr. Lincoln” (which I discuss in this clip), an ingeniously tight-focussed yet historically resonant view of the future President’s rise to prominence.In his biography of Ford, Joseph McBride runs through the remarkable number of references to Lincoln throughout Ford’s filmography and quotes Peter Bogdanovich about the elderly Ford speaking of Lincoln with “such an extraordinary sense of intimacy in his tone… that somehow it was no longer a director speaking of a great President, but a man talking about a friend.”....

Perhaps no filmmaker bore the burden of historical consciousness as deeply, as seriously, and as humanly as Ford did; his “friendship” with Lincoln had a firm artistic basis.

Click on the link for a nice video about the movie:

Read more:

John Ford set the standard.

Review of the new "Lincoln" movie:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day 2012

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 1918 the guns fell silent along the Western Front and an armistice was signed ending World War I. "The war to end all wars." November 11th thus became a holiday known as Armistice Day. After World War II the name was changed to Veterans Day. In Medford, in a park near the National Guard Armory, there are trees planted for each boy from Jackson County who died in World War I. There are a lot of trees. My grandfather Lewis Holton and my great Uncle Herman Bellach (Like a grandfather to me) both served under "Black Jack" Pershing in in France in World War I. I am told my grandfather came home a chanced man after the war. Like  all the veteran's of that war they are now gone.

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow 
Between the crosses row on row, 
That mark our place; and in the sky 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly 
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 
We are the Dead. Short days ago 
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved and were loved, and now we lie 
In Flanders fields. 

Take up our quarrel with the foe: 
To you from failing hands we throw 
The torch; be yours to hold it high. 
If ye break faith with us who die 
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow 
In Flanders fields. 

George M. Cohan wrote the song "Over There" just as the United States entered World War I and it became the anthem for the American soldiers going to France to fight the German "Hun" 

Johnnie, get your gun,
Get your gun, get your gun,
Take it on the run,
On the run, on the run.
Hear them calling, you and me,
Every son of liberty.
Hurry right away,
No delay, go today,
Make your daddy glad
To have had such a lad.
Tell your sweetheart not to pine,
To be proud her boy's in line. 
(chorus sung twice)

Johnnie, get your gun,
Get your gun, get your gun,
Johnnie show the Hun
Who's a son of a gun.
Hoist the flag and let her fly,
Yankee Doodle do or die.
Pack your little kit,
Show your grit, do your bit.
Yankee to the ranks,
From the towns and the tanks.
Make your mother proud of you,
And the old Red, White and Blue. 
(chorus sung twice)

Over there, over there,
Send the word, send the word over there -
That the Yanks are coming,
The Yanks are coming,
The drums rum-tumming
So prepare, say a pray'r,
Send the word, send the word to beware.
We'll be over, we're coming over,
And we won't come back till it's over
Over there

I can still hear Uncle Herm singing this song which was a favorite of American Soldiers in France during World War I

Mademoiselle from Armentières
Par ley voo,
Mademoiselle from Armentières
Par ley voo,
Mademoiselle from Armentières,
She hasn't been kissed for forty years,
Hinky, Dinky Par ley voo.

After he died I inherited from Uncle Herm a Time/Life history book on World War I. On some of the battle maps are small "X"'s put there by Uncle Herm showing were he was during the war.

Thanks for your service and may future generations keep the freedom you paid so dearly for.

Friday, November 09, 2012

3 Day Weekend Reading

"Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965"
Spanning the years of 1940-1965, THE LAST LION picks up shortly after Winston Churchill became Prime Minister-when his tiny island nation stood alone against the overwhelming might of Nazi Germany. The Churchill conjured up by William Manchester and Paul Reid is a man of indomitable courage, lightning fast intellect, and an irresistible will to action. THE LAST LION brilliantly recounts how Churchill organized his nation's military response and defense; compelled FDR into supporting America's beleaguered cousins, and personified the "never surrender" ethos that helped the Allies win the war, while at the same time adapting himself and his country to the inevitable shift of world power from the British Empire to the United States.

More than twenty years in the making, THE LAST LION presents a revelatory and unparalleled portrait of this brilliant, flawed, and dynamic leader. This is popular history at its most stirring    .

Got my copy at Costco last night.  I have the first  two volumes in the series but after Manchester died was afraid the final years in Churchill's live would not be completed; but, Paul Reid relying on Manchester's research completed the book and it is now out in hardback.  When the present is terrible it is comforting to retreat for a few days to the past when there were heroic leaders who stood up to evil. 

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

John Wayne's Movie: "the Quiet Man"(1952) to Blu ray

You take your good news where you find it!

The good news is director John Ford's tribute to his ancestral home of Ireland is coming to Blue Ray on January 22, 2013.

This is how  describes it:

Newly re-mastered in HD from a 4K SCAN of the ORIGINAL NEGATIVE. John Ford's The Quiet Man celebrates one of Hollywood's most romantic and enduring epics. The first American feature to be filmed in Ireland's picturesque countryside. Ford richly imbued this masterpiece with his love of Ireland and its people. Sean Thornton (John Wayne) in an American boxer who swears off fighting after he accidentally kills an opponent in the ring. Returning to the Irish town of his youth, he purchases the home of his birth and finds happiness when he falls in love with the fiery Mary Kate (Maureen O'Hara). But her insistence that Sean conduct his courtship in a proper Irish manner with matchmaker Barry Fitzgerald along for the ride as "chaperone" is but one obstacle to their future happiness: the other is her brother (Victor McLaglen), who spitefully refuses to give his consent to their marriage, or to honor the tradition of paying a dowry to the husband. Sean could care less about dowries, he would've punched out the bullying McLaglen long ago if he hadn't sworn off fighting. But when Mary Kate accuses him of being a coward and walks out on him, Sean is finally ready to take matters into his own hands, the resulting fistfight erupts into the longest brawl ever filmed, followed by one of the most memorable reconciliations in movie history! The Quiet Man won a total of two Academy Awardsr including Best Director (Ford) and Best Cinematography and received five more nomination including Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (McLaglen).
To pre-order go here:

I own it on regular DVD and the picture is very bad. It's almost better on my purchased VHS tape. However, in addition to issuing  it out on Blu ray, it has been restored . The link below outlines the process:

Some quotes:
Although original elements of The Quiet Man were restored by UCLA in the 1980s, the resulting DVD transfers have been less than stellar,
 a 3-strip Technicolor film like The Quiet Man needs special care. We’ve done a 4K scan off the original negative from the studio’s archives but that’s just the beginning. There’s a very complicated re- mastering process that needs to be done for a Technicolor film like this and we want to get it right.
I first saw this movie as a kid in the early 1950 in the back seat of my folks car at a drive-in. I can still hear my dad's laugh at the beginning of the big fight scene  between The Duke and Victor McLaglen.

Monica Crowley: "We must fight for this beloved country"

I have read a lot of "Monday morning quarterbacking" this Wednesday after the election by Conservatives and Republicans but Monica Crowley struck a cord with me when she writes:

There will be a lot of argument made about why Mitt Romney (and so many other Republicans) lost last night.........

All background noise and not particularly relevant right now.

A very slight majority---but a majority---of the American people KNOWINGLY chose four more years (at least) of high unemployment, anemic economic growth, break-the-bank spending, unsustainable and record-breaking deficits and debt, unpopular and bankrupting socialized medicine, and record numbers of people on food stamps and living in poverty. They KNOWINGLY chose four more years....of this......

It may very well be that it's going to take a full-blown crisis to wake us from our torpor. We may have to be broken before we can begin to put ourselves back together again. After all, the slight majority who voted for Obama and the status quo also rejected the responsible plans of Romney and Paul Ryan to deal with the imminent crises now, before they blow up and consume us.

But the majority has chosen to close its eyes and float along for now. But at some point, the laws of economics will kick in and the reckoning will come. So we may have to experience a Western European-style crisis--complete with catastrophic economic collapse and social upheaval--before we can start to fix it.

It's an ugly reality, but it may very well be the case.

And that's why we must never give up. We must never give in. We must never surrender. We must fight for this beloved country. It may be slipping beneath the waves, but it can still be rescued.

I know it's tough to be a Happy Warrior today. We're not feeling very happy, and we're exhausted from the fight. But take a deep breath and realize two things: America CAN be saved, and she is WORTH SAVING.

It's going to require even more hard work and more focus and more energy. But we don't just give up on America. We fight for her. And today (or maybe tomorrow--even God needed a day of rest), we begin the fight anew.

Read more:

Or as John Dryden, (1631-1700) wrote:

Fight on, my merry men all,

I'm a little wounded, but I am not slain;

I will lay me down for to bleed a while,
Then I'll rise and fight with you again

Thanks to Mitt and the Rest of the Romney Family

I want to give a sincere thank you to Mitt Romney and the entire Romney family for their selfless effort in the very long campaign for President.  Considering your wife’s health issues, you and your family made the good fight at great sacrifice.  While you were never as Conservative as I am, I believed and believe, you were the correct choice at this time in American history. The United States needs a practical, competent President to fix the many problems we face. There will be many who second guess you but no one can question your integrity and effort.  You are a good and decent man. I will always remember you for your choice of Paul Ryan for Vice President and your debate performances.  Go home with your head held high.  History will be kind to you. You leave the stage  with your integrity and honor  and in the end that is all we have !  I am proud to have stood with you! You are a patriot.

Monday, November 05, 2012


"The big battle for freedom and the future begins at first light"



Friday, November 02, 2012

Romney: "Vote for Love of Country"

 "Today, Obama asked his supporters to vote for revenge; Today I ask you to vote for love of country" 

Barone: Going out on a limb: Romney beats Obama, handily

In the "nuts and bolts" of politics and voting  projection there is no one I respect more than Michael Barone the author of the highly respected Almanac of American Politics.  If I were to pick one person to spend election night with it would be Michael Barone. Here is a portion of his column today:

Bottom line: Romney 315, Obama 223.(electoral votes) That sounds high for Romney. But he could drop Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and still win the election. Fundamentals.

Our Better Angels

Today in Wisconsin, Romney:
"Americans Don't Settle, We Aspire."

Obama today: "Voting is the best revenge"