Friday, June 23, 2017

IS JOHNNY DEPP HOLLYWOOD BRAIN DEAD?



Poor, old, aging heartthrob Johnny Depp hazarding remarks hinting at John Wilkes Booth and the assassination of a president clearly has completely lost his ever loving mind. He will be the first person in the history of the world to try to turn John Wilkes Booth into a hero for killing one of the greatest men who ever lived and bringing an era of unnecessary suffering to a nation that was already suffering. And yes, Booth was an actor. (But so were Reagan and John Wayne, so not all actors are certifiable.) I guess Johnny Depp has a very advanced case of what we used to call Hollywood Brain Dead syndrome.  

Hollywood Brain Dead is a condition that New York actors arriving in Tinsel Town coined to account for what happened to our friends who'd worked there for awhile. Actors who'd previously been able to hold a sensible conversation and have a normal perspective on life, suddenly morphed into incessant babblers. Given the slightest pause in the conversation, they'd breathlessly chatter on and on about what Hollywood bigshot had spoken to them, what a great audition they'd just done with so and so, or what in crowd parties they'd been invited to. They lost all sense that there was a big world out there of which Hollywood was only one small part. It was scary to be around anyone who'd spent too much time in Hollywood, they were never the same fun person they used to be, and worse, they seemed unaware of that they were acting so strangely.


Johnny Depp, who used to be a nice person, and I can attest to that because we knew him when he was doing 21 Jump Street. Back then, he was a dedicated actor, hardworking, no big ego, and nice to everyone. He was not one of those prancing, preening actors always holding up production to walk their dog or finish a phone call, while others sweated the waste of time and budget, like so many other actors out there. He was a good guy and a very good actor, as many of his early performances show.


How does this happen to someone? It's the result of how Hollywood is run. Casting is based solely on how hot the person with the power is for you. The love interest gets any role, any slight bump, their mentor can give them. It's all about who's boffing who and who would like to be boffing who. Of course, casting your love interest is extremely common in show business, and many businesses. It's funny and scary to see the Comey and Mueller love in and realize the FBI seems to be run the same way as Hollywood. But back in those innocent days, when we Americans thought we lived in a meritocracy, Tom and I were shocked that those type of shenanigans happened all the way up at the network level in the casting of a major roles in nighttime television productions. We had expected the networks to be run in a more businesslike fashion, which would have meant casting the actor who was best at playing the role so the show would be a hit and make the network some money.


Well, no. Hollywood (and perhaps Washington, DC, too) is run as a sort of Byzantine spoils system. The spoils are divided up among those who are in control and those whom they are tentatively considering inviting into their very small, exclusive club. Hollywood is a little rabbit warren of fiefdoms which are constantly at war with each other. Talent, popularity and all those things that matter to the audience meant nothing to the people controlling the purse strings. Of necessity, their views were very short sighted. They wanted to have their job tomorrow, and the most reliable way to keep that job was to curry favor with the higher ups, as opposed to pursuing the chancy proposition of putting together a successful show. Far better "to polish up the handles on the big brass doors."

I can speak from firsthand experience, watching many good friends turn into self-obsessed nut jobs, when I say that living and working in a system like that completely destroys a person's moral fiber, their common sense, their sense of proportion, their sense of humor and turns them Hollywood Brain Dead, kind of Walking Dead Zombies. Sadly, Johnny Depp seems to have suffered that fate.




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

MEMO TO LAURA LOOMER, ADAM GINGRICH, AND BILL MITCHELL Publicity is a good thing




PUBLICITY


Watching Laura Loomer and Adam Gingrich talk about Laura storming the stage at the production of Julius Caesar at Shakespeare in the park, my exasperation level started rising when Laura said some people had accused her of doing what she did for publicity, but she said that wasn't her purpose. Then political operative Adam Gingrich weighed in saying that what she did was great, but only because Scalise had just been shot and some other reason which I can't remember. 

I had to respond.:


"Adam, Laura, STOP APOLOGIZING for yourselves. If you seized the stage to get publicity, that's great. Publicity is necessary to win and educate people about who we are. Adam you say this kind of thing can only done under special circumstances. Please! The right is always so prissy about their image. We should worry more about reaching people's hearts. Good, hardworking people in this country are suffering; we've got to make our case any way we can. Everything is against us, schools, colleges, and the media. We can't afford to be fussy. I can hardly convince my own son that there is any virtue in the Republican party. I need some help, we all do."

Are we so morally elevated, so holier than the Democrats, that we scorn pure publicity, as if it's not okay to do anything and everything to win the hearts and minds and educate the public as to who we are and what we stand for? Must we always act as if our cause should speak for itself? I think we're just out of practice. Actor Ronald Reagan had no trouble with publicity or appearing on stage and in movies, making the case for his kind of world view.

My advice: Get out there in the public square, get down and dirty, talk, tell your stories, make people laugh, make people cry and win their love for you, and their admiration because you've put your own heartfelt self on the line. There is no shame in publicizing and bringing attention to what you truly believe in. It isn't easy, you will fail and make a fool of yourself sometimes, but even that is a winning trait, because people know that you cared so much about them that you didn't let your vanity stand in the way of trying to inform them.

@LauraLoomer
@Gingrich_of_PA  Adam Gingrich
@mitchellvii


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Laura Loomer, Julius Caesar, Assassinatin Porn Update



The Twitter action on Laura Loomer's storming the staged play of Julius Caesar at Shakespeare in the Park has been epic. 

Laura's interview points that I love:

This play is a bastardization of Shakespeare because it celebrates the assassination, and ignores the Hamlet like struggle of Brutus before and after he kills Caesar.

It's assassination Porn. Liberals are attending only to enjoy seeing a Trump lookalike get assassinated. 

Shakespeare himself says "These violent delights have violent ends."

I agree with her completely.


"Never Trumper" Ben Shapiro and his ilk, who as Loomer points out in her interview, want Trump gone just as much as Democrats do, opined that Loomer was wrong because people have paid to see this play.


Yes, he did miss the paying part because Shakespeare in the Park is and always has been free, performed in the open air, just line up to get a ticket. So no, nobody paid to see anybody. 

The truth is this production was deliberately provocative and inviting a response. They got more than they bargained for in the FABULOUS LAURA LOOMER.

Others on the left have pointed out there was a production of Caesar at the famous Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis starring a black actor.  “Julius Caesar resembled Barack Obama that time,” she said of the previous production. “They have a right to protest, but why weren’t they upset about the black man being killed on stage? Why wasn’t that problematic for them?” (New York Times)

But that's a spurious comparison. The actor playing Caesar in the current Central Park production was blatantly tricked out to look exactly like Donald Trump. The actor at the Guthrie was merely a black actor playing Julius Caesar, who BTW was murdered by another black actor playing Brutus. Was the Brutus in the current Central Park Production tricked out to look like Chuck Schumer? Or Obama? No, the current Brutus was just another nondescript actor. 

If the current production of Julius Caesar had really cared about the play's actual theme of how violence destroys the souls and honor of those who commit it, they would have had the killers of Caesar dressed in Antifa costumes and Brutus would have been tricked out like some prominent Democrat.

Loomer is entirely correct in labeling this disgusting production purely and simply "assassination porn." 

I stand with Laura Loomer. She is a very gutsy woman who woke the conscience of a nation. We who love Trump owe her a debt of gratitude for protecting the life of our great President.

My final point is to ask for someone who has the money to start a PATRIOTIC PLAYERS group to tour the nation with patriotic plays that showcase some of the untold, wonderful stories of great Americans from every walk of life in our long and fascinating history. Loomer also has proved that THEATER is a very effective way to raise the moral consciousness of an audience, to inform, and to move people to think new thoughts and feel new feelings. 

Update: Listening to Youtube with Bill Mitchell and Jack Posobiec who was by chance at the Loomer performance, supporting and filming her, and evidently there were some people dressed as Antifa in the play even some Trump adlibs allusion (which show the production itself had no respect for classical Shakespeare). My question is did we see Antifa and the Democrat Brutus fall on their swords, defeated by their own violence? I doubt it. Loomer and Posobiec are right. Assassination porn.




















Saturday, June 17, 2017

LAURA LOOMER - A STAR IS BORN AT THE PUBLIC THEATER


LAURA LOOMER - A STAR IS BORN ON BROADWAY





This is for my conservative friends who seem not be regular theatergoers, nor to understand the incredible intellectual and emotional power of live theater. There are many drama historians who believe that the invention of theater was key in the creation of the cultural flowering of Ancient Greece, enabling the separate tribes to rise from destructive vendettas and tribal feuds to the beauty of ideals like justice and mercy, and to viscerally comprehend concepts like violence has terrible consequences on individuals and nations.

I never realized how important it was to live in a town where live theater was something everyone did frequently, until I went to a touring Broadway show in Los Angeles. To say that it was painful to be a part of that LA audience is an understatement. LA is the capital of canned laughter, the machines laugh for you. As I found myself the only person laughing out loud, I realized that the Los Angelenos just didn't know how to respond to live theater, they'd had no practice.

One of the beauties of the theatrical experience is that you share the laughter and tears with a large group of people, the audience. Acting live on stage requires great daring. You are alone in front of people who are hungry to have an emotional experience and you have to dig deep to find the chords of speech and behavior that will play the music of the story.

But many shows and actors fail miserably at this. An old actor's saying is that actor's invented acting and audiences invented coughing. But it often gets worse. Catcalls, jeers, boos and, like the very popular movie review site, Rotten tomatoes being thrown was not uncommon. I was at a show once where the lead actor on stage turned to a noisy audience and cursed them out and told them to shut up before he would continue. He was playing Richard the Third, so he was perfectly in character, but perhaps not entirely justified. But we shut up. Theater is a two way street, and actors die up there without a responsive audience.

At the risk of sounding like the aging Sixties hippie that I am, theater is a happening. I used to work as the house manager at the Actor's Studio just so I could watch the same play for fourteen nights running. Every single night, it was a different performance that drew a different response from a different audience. Theater is a live animal and fascinating.

What Laura Loomer did onstage at the used-to-be aptly named Public Theater was a beautiful expression of the kind of fervid passion every real stage shows wants to elicit. The production of Julius Caesar was blatantly portraying Caesar as President Trump, INVITING, baiting all Trump lovers. They got a response which is just what they deserved. And unwittingly, they made Laura Loomer more famous than any of the actors in the play, who were only playing parts. Laura stole their thunder and stole the show. That happens. Some actors hate to work with darling unpredictable children because their spontaneity steals focus and there isn't a darn thing an actor can do but wait until the child is offstage.

Please remember theater is and must be live. It's totally different from movies and TV, which are experienced in a kind of solitary thoughtfulness. Theater is supposed to get the audience churning in their seats. Nobody wants an insipid show, we want to be excited. Laura Loomer was the most exciting person on stage in all of New York City. A STAR IS BORN.

SUPPORT LAURA LOOMER Contribute to her legal defense fund to fight Liberal persecution Laura Loomer Defense Fund









Friday, June 16, 2017

JULIUS CEASAR GETS SHUTDOWN - STREET THEATER COMES TO THE PUBLIC


Shakespeare would be so happy to see real theater happen tonight at the Public Theater in Central Park when LAURA LOOMER got on stage and accused the crowd and production of glorifying assassination, specifically the assassination of Trump. We used to call it STREET THEATER. And it's the most exciting kind of theater, it challenges the audience to participate, and to respond. Live, exciting performance art happened at the Public tonight. (Someday I'll tell you about my street theater experiences. It's invigorating and scary) But Laura was really brave tonight in what she did getting up on stage and excoriating the audience for celebrating violence.

BRAVA LAURA LOOMER and BRAVO JACK POSOBIEC for showing the world that the denizens of Kekistan know how to play the theater game, too. 

THRILLING TO SEE THEATER DO WHAT IT WAS MEANT TO DO Raise the consciousness of the riotous groundlings!!! And boy did Laura and Jack do that!!!!

The left seems to think Shakespeare was celebrating the act of political assassination. No, Shakespeare was not a violent incendiary. In his day, violent incendiaries were drawn, quartered and had their entrails cut out and stuck in their mouths before their heads were cut off. So, no. his great and classic play Julius Caesar explored the consequences of human passions with a little more depth and breath of understanding than the ranting liberal thuggism on display at the Public. 



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

JULIUS CAESAR - SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK

Shakespeare in the Park - Julius Caesar played as if 
Trump was Caesar

What a travesty, what a bunch of thugs calling themselves actors who have mounted a production of Shakespeare's JULIUS CEASAR for Shakespeare in the Park, in New York City's Central Park are.

I am hardly a Shakespeare scholar, but even a cursory reading of the play shows what agonies of conscience Brutus endures and how he fights his egotistical jealousy of Caesar's power, before he commits his dreadful act of stabbing Caesar. But the director and actors doing this production seem not to have understood the end of the play, where the power of Caesar's ghostly spirit is enough to defeat his murderers. Dead, Caesar has become a power without blood, which cannot be stabbed out of existence. With their violence, they have brought about the very thing their act of murder was meant to end. 

From the end of the play:

Cassius: Caesar, thou art reveng'd
Even with the sword that kill'd thee."

(Cassius has his servant run him through with the very sword he used to stab Caesar.)

Brutus: "O Julius Caesar, thou art mighty yet!

"Thy spirit walks abroad and turns our swords
in our own proper entrails."

(Brutus also runs on sword and kills himself.)

Both Cassius and Brutus participated in the murder of Caesar, but are defeated at the end of the play and fall on their swords, not heroes, but treasonous, treacherous, egotistical failures.

"It is a tragedy when a nobility that might have led only follows, when it consents to be used by envious men for their base purposes." This is a comment on the noble Brutus brought low and manipulated by those who envy Caesar. Brutus' wife, Portia also kills herself. (The Meaning of Shakespeare, Harold C. Goddard)


What kind of Tyrant is Trump?


Yes, Shakespeare, like all right thinking men, was against tyranny, but to portray President Trump as a tyrant merely because he has been elected president is curiously revealing. The tyrannies Liberals seem most offended by are not acts of tyranny, like taking money from hard working tax payers without their consent. No, what they hate and envy most about Trump is his popularity. That the American people love Trump better than they love Liberals is what their hungry egos, much like Brutus', cannot bear and must destroy or be destroyed by.

You cannot seize the love of the people by violence, you must earn it by good deeds, understanding, and honesty. Liberals have too much contempt for their fellow man to practice any of those virtues. As their nemesis Trump would say, "Sad."




Wednesday, May 24, 2017

ISLAMOPHOBIA

MANCHESTER MASSACRE AND THE DRUIDS


Halloween Druid Human Sacrifice


The Lefties are all worked up in self-righteous high dudgeon, worrying that the Manchester child massacre will cause more Islamophobia. Putting aside how strange it is that they always feel more for the outsider than for their own, yes, they are quite correct, it will create Islamophobia, fear of Islam and fear of Muslims. People fear rattlesnakes because their bite is deadly. Fear is a normal response to danger. This is why Trump has gone to Saudi Arabia to help Muslims deal with a terrible problem besetting their faith at this time: radicalization that leads to barbarous acts.

Barbarity can be an effective strategy for awhile, but it always ends badly for those who practice it and those who are associated with it. The Romans made a point of wiping out the Druids for their barbarous practice of brutal human sacrifice, even though the Druids were sacrificing their own people. If anyone was going to be sacrificed, the Roman state would administer its rough justice and prescribe death in the circus arena.

Some Native Americans regularly practiced savagely barbarous acts on their enemies, men, women and children, only exacerbating the fear and prejudice against them and justifying, in the minds of many of their frightened neighbors, their harsh treatment. Fear often overrides reason, pity and justice.

You cannot expect people to make fine distinctions about this Druid, or that Muslim, when they are living in fear for their lives.

Yes, all Muslims, with the help of their liberal apologists, have allowed themselves to be branded as heinous, savage, barbarous murderers in the minds of all who have witnessed their continuing atrocities. You can call it Islamophobia or whatever you want, but when you hear a rattlesnake rattle its tail, you get out of the way or you kill it. Survival is a basic human instinct, which liberals seem to be curiously ignoring for reasons they are not willing to own up to.

(I seem to be on an intermittent hiatus. Will write when I can, which for the next few months won't be often.)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

SWORD DANCE - TO HONOR TRUMP




This says it all for me. I have to get out my copy of Lawrence of Arabia and watch it again. This is good branding for Islam, celebrating in time honored customs and traditions, authentic to this unique region and its history. Now we have some context to begin to understand each other. And I love dancing, anywhere, anyhow, anyone, I love it!!!!!!!!!!!


Friday, May 19, 2017

NETFLIX ANNE WITH AN E

NETFLIX'S ANNE WITH AN E


I absolutely adored this version of Anne of Green Gables. It's so much freer of stereotypes than the previous Colleen Dewhurst version, and more honest about Anne's true, dark and tragic circumstances. Not acknowledging Anne's heartrending past, robs her of the heroic triumph of her entrancingly feminine intellect and imagination, without which Anne becomes a treacly sweet girl. That was never what we loved about Anne. What we love about her is the way the fire of her imagination burns away the dross of the world she's had to endure and transforms it into Avonlea; that is what has made her a heroine for all time.

Netflix's Anne with an e is a triumph that surpasses all other versions. It's the best movie series in years. The series is just staggeringly well cast, every single one of the actors is brilliant, and every performance is topnotch and a marvel. Faultlessly perfect. An entire delight.






Sunday, May 14, 2017

HAITUS

Must pause in blogging from now, May 14 till the end of the summer. Hope you all have a glorious summer with lots of fun in the sun.

Till we meet again!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

SPRING AND CHRISTIAN WOMAN MYSTIC HADEWIJCH

A QUOTE FROM THE WONDERFUL BOOK "A Little Daily Wisdom, Christian Women Mystics"


Translated by Carmen Acevedo Butcher

I read parts of this wonderful book almost daily. I cannot recommend it highly enough for spiritual guidance of the simple kind that we need every day. Ms. Butcher has created a book that is nothing short of a classic and should be on everyone's desk or bedside table.

A Little Daily Wisdom: Christian Women Mystics

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
This is an excerpt from Hadewijch, Poems in Stanzas. She was a 13th Century Flemish mystic writer.

"The beautiful season of flowers is finally here again!
Those with beautiful hearts 
who are chosen to bear Love's chains
also know this season of growing
spiritually as their steady trust-in-God
Blossoms in their hands
into flowers and fruits of kindness.

They experience the Word of God
through their blooming spiritual trust.
They're always friends with Love, and
that's why they're intimate with Tenderness."

Friday, April 28, 2017

THE ECONOMY THEN AND NOW

THE OLD ECONOMY VS THE NEW ECONOMY -

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney

A Millennial learns how he's been screwed. College debt and a bad economy


As all who read this blog know, my husband and I had the grandchild first, that is, he came along when we were old enough to be grandparents. The result is a two generation age gap, and a lot can happen in two generations. We came of age in the Sixties, and the son came of age in the economy that Director of the OMB Mick Mulvaney has very aptly characterized as one where young people who are thirty years old have never experienced a growing economy. Yeah, the son is just that age.

So he's visiting me the other day, debating his future or lack of same and he queries: "So, do I have this right? In the Sixties, if you had a high school diploma, walked out the door, showed up for work on time and worked hard, you could earn enough to pay your utility bill, your phone bill, have kids, buy a house and a new car. Is that how it was?" He looks to me to answer this, because I was there.

"Pretty much," I admitted. "And you could make enough money on your summer break to pay your college tuition for a year."

He just shook his head. Really, I feel for him. All his friends of every age are in so much debt from college that they will more than likely die owing money. Getting a college degree is the ticket to a lifetime of indentured debt servitude. Kind of a hopeless situation. None own their own homes, none have children. Marriage is a distant dream. We're awfully lucky they don't get out pitchforks and attack the DC uniparty, aren't we?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

MYSTERY NOVEL "ALTERING COURSE" - George Eliseo

A DANGEROUS MAN WITH WORDS AND A GUN




ALTERING COURSE on Amazon kindle

I LOVE MYSTERY NOVELS


I am a mystery novel addict and have read all the great ones and most of the just plain good ones, usually many times since it's so hard to find good writers. George Eliseo is pure delight as a mystery writer. He has it all, great plot, tasty observations about life in Southern California, fascinating insights into the world of cops and robbers since he was a real cop, great characters who are so real, you feel you met them yesterday at lunch, snappy, original and amusing dialogue, lots of heart, and a skewed, but ultimately very interesting sense of justice. I am breathlessly awaiting his next book.

At last, a contemporary mystery writer who knows how to tell a story. And oh by the way, he doesn't lob any gratuitous PC insults just to please some elitist publisher. But then, once you've read three pages, you know that Mr. George Eliseo is very much his own man and will kowtow to no one. A dangerous guy with words and gun.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Emilie Made Voltaire Look Dumb, And He Adored Her



In 1733, in France, twenty-seven year old Emilie Du Chatelet, a married aristocrat, met the almost forty year old Voltaire and became his lover. She had been married off young, French style, to an older aristocrat who could prove four hundred years of aristocratic blood. She'd provided the requisite heirs, and both husband and wife were then free to pursue love wherever they could find it.

She found it in the arms of one of the great intellectual giants of the French Enlightenment, a sometimes hunted man, due to his forward thinking views, which he took little trouble to conceal. A highly educated woman, in a country where women were never educated, Emilie spoke five languages, and studied math with two of the greatest mathematicians in world history, Johann Bernoulli and Clairaut.

She was the first woman to have a scientific paper published by the Paris Academy of Sciences, which sponsored a competition one year to determine the nature of heat, light and fire. Voltaire spent millions, in today's dollars, buying equipment to heat, weigh and take the temperature of molten metals. He broke a lot of thermometers and learned very little.

Emilie got busy with her pencils and calculated that, if light was moving at a billion feet per second, than, if light was a particle, even the most infinitesimal quantity of it bombarding the earth would destroy all living beings. She dared advance the startling and unheard of idea that "light was something that had no mass at all." Further, she had plans to repeat Newton's experiments with the prism, in which he'd separated white light into colors, except Emilie was going to put thermometers in each of the different colors of the rainbow lights, hypothesizing that "different colors of light would carry different amounts of heating power." Eighty years elapsed before anyone got around to trying this, thus discovering infrared light.

Emilie did not get to carry this experiment out, because Voltaire had to make a hasty exit to escape arrest by the King for advancing anti Church and anti Royalist ideas.

From Wikipedia: "In 1749, the year of her death, she completed the work regarded as her outstanding achievement: her translation into French, with her commentary, of Newton's 'Principia Mathematica', including her derivation of the  notion of conservation of energy from its principles of mechanics. Published ten years after her death, today du Chatelet's translation of Principia Mathematica is still the standard translation of the work into French."

She made the translation, and discovered the notion of the conservation of energy all while pregnant at forty-three years old. She died a few days after the birth of her child. It was not Voltaire's child, but another man's, for Voltaire was by then much older and not an attentive lover.

I suppose what strikes me so forcibly about Emilie's story is the idea of this brilliant woman enduring a dangerous, late stage pregnancy, while translating, from Latin into French, Newton's book of mathematics, in which he introduces calculus to the world. Calculus is tough for the best of us, under any circumstances, but she mastered it while pregnant and in her forties. Seems to me Emilie is proof that women need never apologize that they don't appear in the history books quite as often as men. Having babies either left them with little time for creating works of prodigious scholarship, or ended their lives prematurely.

The only reason we remember Emilie's achievements is that, obviously, she was an extraordinary prodigy, who overcame all the immense hurdles, natural and cultural, that so often stand in the way of outstanding female accomplishments.

"I shall await you, quietly
In my meridian
     in the fields of Cirey
Watching one star only
Watching my Emilie"

Voltaire "Ode"

The quotes are from the book "Passionate Minds" by David Bodanis. A book about two incredibly daring, intelligent and passionate people, both of whom changed the world in very great ways. It's an entertaining as well as informative book, well worth a reading.





Saturday, April 22, 2017

WASHINGTON'S IMMORTALS and SWAMP FOX DISNEY MOVIE



I have always been interested in the Revolutionary War. Growing up in New Jersey, right by the George Washington Bridge, near Fort Lee and across the river from Fort Washington, perhaps it was inevitable. I also have a more personal connection with the Revolution. My father's family, the Casterline family, were Huguenots who'd fled religious persecution in France in 1690 and come up the Delaware River to New Jersey. Consequently, by the time the Revolution began, they had been citizens of the colony of New Jersey for almost a century. Several Casterlines fought in the war which raged all across New Jersey for years. We know this because their widows received war pensions.



Also, above, I have a copy of the New Jersey Journal from 1779, when the war was still being fought and outcome undecided. The Casterline's owned a tavern and had a subscription to the Journal. Many of the issues have been preserved and passed down in our family.

Until reading Washington's Immortals, I had no idea how severe conditions were for the American Army, the incredible hardships they endured, the way the British and Hessians usually gave no quarter and slaughtered the American soldiers rather than take prisoners, as the American Army did. In plain truth, these Washington Immortals, the Maryland and Delaware regiments, were nothing short of superhuman in their fighting spirit, endurance, unbelievable courage and determination.

SWAMP FOX DISNEY MOVIE


Now, of course, Patrick K. O'Donnell's book is far more scholarly and has mature content not suitable for young people, but I think he would not be offended to be included in a post that also mentioned the Walt Disney Swamp Fox movie about the Revolutionary War exploits of Francis Marion which was made for 1959 Disney's Wonderful World of Color starring Leslie Nielsen. I happened to find a few of those terrific old TV shows on Youtube. They were the kind of videos where the focus swims around and you feel you're watching them on a ship at sea. Nevertheless, they taught me a great deal about the Swamp Fox's exciting Army Ranger style exploits in South Carolina to help win the war. Much of what I saw on those shows was brought to mind again as I read about Washington's Immortals.

Sadly, I'm sure my son went through an entire public school education and never heard of the Swamp Fox. But I have nothing good to say about public schools these days, so I won't say anything at all. But I wish somebody who was proud of America would do a film or documentary series about Washington's Immortals. Patrick K. O'Donnell has loaded his book with thrilling stories and very personal events from the lives of these men who fought so hard for freedom.




Friday, April 21, 2017

A TIME TRAVEL ROMANTIC COMEDY - After Cary Grant, Everything Else is.......

TIME TRAVEL TO CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD 


A ROGUE, A PIRATE AND A DRY MARTINI is my time travel romantic comedy novel homage to Hollywood back in the Golden Days of the black and white movie classics. How would you like to find yourself starring opposite one of the legends of Hollywood, his leading lady, in fact? Relive the magic of old Hollywood, when Musso and Frank made the best dry gin martinis (as they still do) and everybody who was anybody strolled along Hollywood Boulevard.

"Cancelled, dumped and told to retire all in one morning in Hollywood, our heroine, the former star of Morgan Sidney, the Laughing PI, thinks it can't get any worse until her agent tricks her into working on some real low end, Loserville production where everybody smokes all the time and drinks martinis between scenes. No special effects, no car chases, just actors she's never heard of playing scenes.

And her co-stars! Who are these guys? Sophisticated, witty, and sexy, the kind of men you wouldn't mind a bit doing a nude scene with, but for some reason in these movies there's no humping. All they do is kiss. But after a martini or two, kissing these guys (and our heroine makes it her business to kiss them all) is better than sex. No kidding.

It's all great fun, even if it is guaranteed to ruin her career. So what's going on? Nobody makes movies like this anymore. And where the Hell are they getting all these unfiltered Chesterfields? So what happens if the guy you're crazy about turns out to be somebody you've probably watched on Turner Classic Movies? And you're pretty sure (if only you'd paid more attention in history class) that it's the middle of the Great Depression and World War II is on its way. Does any of that matter if you're in love for the first time in your life?"

Looking for the old homes of the Legends of Hollywood


One of my greatest disappointments was visiting Hollywood and finding that the town was unaware of and totally indifferent to its glorious past. The oldest star on the star maps was Lucille Ball. I love Lucy as much as anybody, but she was more of a TV star. Nobody had heard of let alone cared about Carole Lombard, Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Rudolf Valentino, Mary Pickford, Fred Astaire or any of the myriad other world class artists who wrote the book on what cinema could do, spawned and refined an entirely new art form, and changed the way the world perceived itself now and forever.

Grauman’s Chinese footprints and hand prints were the only tangible sign that these giants had once walked Hollywood Boulevard. Tom, my husband, actor Tom O’Rourke, and I were both completely crushed. When we moved out to LA, we spent many weekends, chasing around looking for star homes and other old Hollywood landmarks that were still standing, and there were precious few, even then.



I actually had the great good luck to meet and shake hands with one of the greatest stars from the great days of Hollywood: Cary Grant. It was 1967, long before the days of DVDs and VHS, when the only place to see old black and white movies was on afternoon TV’s Million Dollar Movie. I was young model invited to a fancy cocktail party on Park Ave. My friend asked if I’d like to meet Cary Grant. I said I’d be thrilled, even though I was confused between Cary Grant and Gary Cooper, not sure which name went with which face. The minute I saw him, he was everything he looked in the movies and more. I remember his slightly bemused smile and kindly gaze into my star struck, teenage eyes. I mumbled something polite as he shook my hand. He was the first movie star I’d ever met, my first encounter with a dream walking. He was so much more gorgeous, charming and gracious than he was even on film. I’m sure I’ve met at least a couple of other movie stars, but, somehow, I can’t remember them at all.

Monday, April 17, 2017

THE WOMEN AT THE TOMB

Women at the tomb of Jesus

This post is not some feminist griping about Christianity, rather this is one of the pieces of historical evidence that I have always found very convincing and am now going to share. I apologize for this being posted after Easter. But I think it is an interesting point about the resurrection and very compelling evidence that is hard to dismiss or forget.

The author is addressing one of the objections to the veracity of the bible, attributing the story of the resurrection to the desire of the Jesus community to create (i.e. make up) a legend about their leader.

The quote is from the the book Who Is Jesus? Linking the Historical Jesus With The Christ of Faith, by Darrell L. Bock. It's a daunting and scholarly book that was difficult to read, but definitely worth the effort. 


"Embarrassment

Another key element in the empty tomb tradition involves the criterion of embarrassment. In fact, this criterion is the one that most contradicts the idea that what we have is a fabricated account, a created story that is mere myth or legend. The key factor here is the unanimous testimony in the gospels that women were the first to discover the empty tomb.

What is important in this detail is the ancient culture's lack of appreciation of women. In this culture, a woman's testimony often counted for nothing. Josephus testifies to this view in Antiquities 4.219  when he says, "From women let no evidence be accepted, because of the levity and temerity of their sex." The Mishnah, Yebamot 16:7 shows some permitted women's testimony to attest a death but others do not. So their role was debated. In the Mishnah, Ketubot 2:5 and the Edduyot 3:6, a woman's testimony about her marital status is to be rejected if another witness speaks to the contrary. These texts show that women were not highly regarded as witnesses in the first century.

So if the Jesus community is trying to sell the unpopular idea of a resurrection to a skeptical audience, why would it do this by opening such a difficult story with witnesses who do not count as witnesses culturally? If you are creating the story, why would you create it this way? A created story would have had male witnesses at the start. The idea that this story was created lacks cultural credibility, as evidenced in the starting point for this account. The women's being in the story and remaining there in all the gospel versions speak to the authenticity of this detail and of the empty tomb. No one would have put them there had they not already been there.

Interestingly, some of the accounts reflect this nervousness about female testimony. Mark 16 ends before reporting any message to the disciples. Luke 24:11 says those who initially heard the women thought they spoke "nonsense." In fact, the second century skeptic Celsus mocks the report's credibility, speaking of Mary Magdalene as a "half-frantic woman" (Origen, Celsus 2.59). All of this reinforces that the criterion of embarrassment is applicable to this account. The combination of multiple attestation and embarrassment appears to attest to concrete events, not legend."

NEED SOME INSPIRATION?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

CANTERBURY TALES




     

 Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote             
When April with its sweet-smelling showers
      The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
           
   Has pierced the drought of March to the root,
       And bathed every veyne in swich licour
           
   And bathed every vein (of the plants) in such liquid
       Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
           
   By the power of which the flower is created;   



Who can wake up on a sunny morning in April and not feel just as Chaucer's pilgrims felt seven hundred years ago that it's just the season to set out on a pilgrimage to seek foreign shores and distant shrines and especially to visit Canterbury?

In Washington state our sun shifts are quite extreme. Already in April the grey light of dawn is visible at five am. By six thirty, the sun has been up for awhile. I can still walk my dog at eight thirty at night and not need a flashlight. It would have been much the same in England almost a thousand years ago. And having no street lights or artificial light except lanterns, April would have provided long hours of lighted travel and pleasant weather for all adventurous travelers.

How delightful a journey Chaucer's pilgrims make, each telling a story to pass the time. I haven't read the full Canterbury tales, just one or two of the stories. But I had to learn the prologue in high school and have never forgotten the first lines, which evoke the spirit of April so aptly.

We must rescue April from the tax man and restore it to a season for celebrating the long days. I suppose for farmers, April is a busy time of much hard work. But we all welcome spring's return and a new season of growth and plenty.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Psychic Coffee - The Nature of Time, Free Will, and Julian of Norwich



In coming to terms with my psychic experiences, there was no ignoring the bible, a book filled with stories of scientifically impossible things which modern people were always trying to explain away as some perfectly natural phenomenon. I used to be a big fan of this type of thing. The Red Sea parted due to the gigantic volcanic explosion that blew the Greek island of Thera almost off the map. The seven plagues of Egypt were biological events having to do with the flooding of the Nile and parasites. That kind of thing fascinated me.

It was time to give the bible the once over with an open mind about psychic phenomenon. I started with the bible because I was most familiar with it, as opposed to any other religious document. The truth is I was only passingly familiar with the bible.


The New Testament turned out to be the best place to start my quest to reevaluate the bible in light of my new science of the psychic world. So much of the Old Testament is very ancient and each book has such a complex history, that it would be a life time of work to try to tease an understanding of the psychic threads from the old prophets. 


How funny and distressing it was to read about the Jesus Seminar, which was a group of religious leaders who, like me, didn't believe in the supernatural. Well, I was not alone in my skepticism. But I had seen the mystery in everyday life that psychics had access to, and all my former assumptions about what was true in the bible were open to modification.


The question I wanted to settle for myself was how reliable were the gospel's testimonies about Christ's miracles and his rising from the dead. Was the reality of a supernatural God actually empirically believable in a modern scientific world? 


This in itself is a gigantic undertaking, but I did my best to satisfy my intellect. My first question was where did the bible come from. Sounds easy, but it's a long, complicated story. Suffice to say that thousands of brilliant scholars of ancient Greek, Hebrew and Latin have spent their lives studying fragments of ancient biblical texts, papyri, and many other sources to obtain the most accurate reading of the New Testament Gospels. 


There are disputes about many of the details, but for my purposes, I was able to assure myself that the texts we have are close enough to the original texts to be trusted. Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly, there are lots of reliable, first person sources and records for the gospels from very shortly after Christ was crucified.  


I read so many books and often got only one small insight out of the whole book. The best overall book I read was 'Who Is Jesus' by Darrell L. Bock. 'Can We Trust the New Testament' by John A. T. Robinson is also pretty good.


The picture I constructed from all this various research was of a Mediterranean world that was far more sophisticated and advanced than I'd imagined. At the same time, in those ancient days, they were more inclined to believe in supernatural causes for things than we are today. Things like thunderstorms and droughts were believed to be acts of God, as indeed, we still often refer to them today. Soothsayers and prophets and the idea that some people can perform miracles was more easily accepted back then, than it would be today.


I had to believe that if there were third grade teacher looking psychics today who could hunt out murderers from unseen Polaroids, there were similar people in the time of Jesus, doing the same sort of things and subject to far less skepticism than they would be today.


Jesus, then, must have been someone quite a magnitude above this type of 'seeing,' or the things he did wouldn't have seemed so remarkable to his contemporaries. It appeared to be very likely that he was something much more than a knowledgeable rabbi who told subtle and profound parables.


As I read the letters of Paul, I was very impressed by his intelligence. He was a highly educated, sophisticated Jew from a cosmopolitan city, who was also a Roman citizen. In the end, it was those letters, written so soon after the Crucifixion, that persuaded me that something very unusual had indeed happened. Clearly, Paul was a man of substance in his community and a deep thinker, and he was satisfied by the testimonies he heard from the disciples, and by his vision on the road to Damascus, that Christ was the son of God and had come back from the dead. I am not enough of a scholar to understand exactly what was meant in those times by the phrase 'son of God.' But it seems to me, at the very least, to imply a very close relationship with the very greatest of powers of the universe, otherwise referred to as God.


Now that I had accepted that the world according to science was a very incomplete world model, I gave a lot more credence to the New Testament claims of miracles, like bringing Lazarus back from the dead, the angels at the tomb, and Christ risen from the grave. The New Testament could be looked at as partly a simple reporting of the significant events of the life of Jesus, and his attempt to make clear the spiritual meaning of his miracle acts.


Once you accept that the rules of science are somehow embedded in a larger supernatural construct, the New Testament becomes a really interesting document of ordinary men and women, who witnessed probably the most extraordinary event in mankind's history, relating what they saw and thought about it. The story of what they saw is so amazing, that it is not surprising that over two thousand years later, people are still enthralled by it.


To say that this was a life changing event would be a huge understatement. However, I did not shed my clothes and run around the streets shouting Eureka! But, subtly, every day, I thought in new ways about everything and everyone, wondering what I really believed was going on in this life. 



Is the supernatural the enemy of Christianity and all religion? I'm not a theologian, so I can't say. But for me, accepting the supernatural was my pathway to real faith. It opened my mind to the possibility that there is more to this world than can be found on the periodic table of the elements. Am I advancing some new system of belief? Hardly. I find myself closest in my beliefs to Julian of Norwich, an early Christian mystic and writer who had visions from God while ill. She recovered from her illness on May 13, 1373, her feast day and my birthday. Her book, Revelations of Divine Love, written around 1395, is one of the first books written in English by a woman and is still popular today.

"And I saw truly that nothing happens by accident or luck, but everything by God's divine providence."

"God is the goodness that cannot be angry."

"It is true that sin is the cause of all this suffering, but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."

"And in this I saw that God does not want us to be afraid of knowing the things that he shows us; he shows them because he wants us to know them, and through this knowledge he wants us to love him and be happy and rejoice in him forever. And because of his great love for us he shows us everything which it is valuable and useful for us to know in this world; and the things which he wants to remain a mystery for the time being, he nevertheless, because of his great kindness, shows us in a veiled way, and from this showing he wants us to believe and understand that we shall really see them in his everlasting bliss."

From Julian of Norwich, 'Revelations of Divine Love', the Long Text, translated by Elizabeth Spearing. 

Doubt still haunts me, as do grief and fear, but my psychic experiences have given me a lot of help in strengthening my faith in God's love. "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:8.

I quibbled with myself over the loss of free will. What does it mean if the future can be known? Does it mean there is no free will? This idea is very uncomfortable. Does it mean that what will happen is already a given, an immutable law, unchangeable?  

Or, is it possible that time is an illusion? An important illusion, very specific and intrinsic to life on earth, but an illusion? Part of God's plan for us here on earth.

Maybe both free will and time are illusions. Maybe like Teresa of Avila says, we are only watering the garden that God has already planted. It's our loving attentiveness to him that provides the water for his garden of our virtues and his weeding out of our vices.

"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." James 4:14

Free will, the process of watering our God given gardens, operates outside of time, somehow, but the separating power of time, which keeps events manageable and understandable, does not work the way it appears to us, who are captives of time. As Einstein says: "Time and space are modes by which we think and not conditions in which we live."

I believe that somehow free will must be important because so much trouble has been taken to show me my future visions, all of which acted to strengthen my faith in this world at this time and changed me, if not my actions. But they have changed my actions, because without those visions, I really don't know how I would have carried on or found faith in God.

Here's a quote from the movie 'The Agony and The Ecstasy', based on the Irving Stone biography of Michelangelo, which comes very close to summing it all up for me. The situation is that Michelangelo has unwillingly submitted to Pope Julius II's wishes and painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. On completion of the masterpiece, the Pope confesses that he almost gave in to Michelangelo's pleas to let another artist finish the ceiling, but at those moments, Michelangelo's behavior was so irritating, that he was unable to control his anger and insisted that Michelangelo finish the job. In the movie, as he admires the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the Pope then reflects on his role in the creation of the glorious ceiling, "I take no credit. I was moved by another hand as easily and skillfully as you move your brush. Strange how he works his will. Let us share pride in having been his instruments."

I believe that God does use us as instruments to work his will, even turning our worst weaknesses to good purpose.

Here is a quote I found in William Peter Blatty's new book, "Finding Peter: A True Story of the Hand of Providence and Evidence of Life After Death.

"So many people imagine that death cruelly separates us from our loved ones. Even pious people are led to believe this great and sad mistake. Death is not a separation. When our loved one dies, they do not leave us. They remain. They do not go to some distant place. They simply begin their eternity. Death has not destroyed them, nor carried them away. Rather it has given them life and the power to know and love us more fully than ever before. The tears that dampen our eyes in times of mourning are tears of homesickness, tears of longing for our loved ones. But it is we who are far from home, not they. Death has been for them a doorway to eternal home. And only because this home is invisible to our worldly eyes, we cannot see them so near us, lovingly and tenderly waiting for the day when we, too, will enter the doorway. And then we will see them." Cardinal John Henry Newman.

(In confirmation of the truth of these words, you can read about the book and how I got my rose, really more in answer to Mr. Blatty's faith than my own, but got it nevertheless, at this link:  http://amzn.to/1HdNamD )

I hope that my small experiences of the supernatural will encourage others to have confidence in their own signposts on the journey to faith. 


Jesus said to Thomas, 'Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.' Some of us, however, have to see, before we dare to walk on water when Jesus calls us. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

THE GREAT MILTON FRIEDMAN AND THE PENCIL OF CAPITALISM


I still remember my Friedman textbook in college. He wrote so simply and so clearly that he made economics joyful instead of the dreary science. Enjoy this brief, but amazing video that demonstrates the beauty of capitalism.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Baby Boomer

Our generation set a lot of people off ranting and raving because we trampled some of those old fashioned beliefs and customs. Well, gee whiz, I can't help thinking that what this country is supposed to be about. Didn't the Founding Fathers get rid of their king, overrule the aristocracy and decline to be good little colonists? That's the tradition we honored, the rebel tradition. This is a rambunctious country, and it was meant to be. Wasn't it?

I'm tired of all the pundits ad nauseam predicting doom due to something Boomers did or didn't do and being blamed for everything that's wrong in the world. This country is a work in progress, and far from finished. We've done about all the good or harm that we could. There's nothing left but to try to live with that. So, with the grey hair comes honesty, since at this point we have little left to lose before this creature we've been sporting around gets left behind. And apparently, if my dreams are to be believed, even when you've left that wild and crazy body behind, you go on doing things ... somewhere.

Now the Baby Boomer party is just about over. Nothing much left to do but find a good place to spend Happy Hour with a few fellow Boomers. It's time to sit back and hoist a few, swap some whoppers, chuckle and comment on the weather in that mild, old fashioned way we used to before weather became a political issue likely to lead to violence. We're graduates of the days of suits and ties and leather shoes, which are now as out of date as chastity belts. Be proud. We're Baby Boomers. We survived the largest population surge in the history of the world. When we were young, optimistic, energetic youth ruled and was an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. Whatever they say about us, it's all true, and they don't know the half of it. The road from "Leave it to Beaver" to "Breaking Bad" was one bumpy ride, but it was an A ticket. Yes, it was.


But, I'm not writing an apologia for my generation, just the true story of two Boomers. "Second Sight" is the story of a journey that took me from my small town of Leonia, New Jersey, to New York, Hollywood, and finally all the way to the furthest reaches of the Milky Way before it was done with me. I grew up when the American Dream was vibrantly alive, when to be young was to be full of hope and possibilities. I met a man who had dreams, too, which we joined together to share.