Independence Day

independence_day

“Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” –Patrick Henry

Happy Independence Day everybody. Next to Christmas, this is my favorite holiday because it reminds me of what a unique nation we are and of the incredible people who gave us our independence and at what cost.

A friend of mine did a documentary entitled, America! some years back and the links to all three parts are below. I  encourage you to take the time to watch, it will bring tears to your eyes and make you remember why you and so many others love this country.

America! Part 1

America! Part 2

America! Part 3

And as a final note, please pray for our guys and gals standing in harm’s way around the world, and for their families — especially families of those fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, who granted their lives in defense of American liberty.

Enjoy your day.

A Small Request

(My buddy Reggie, sent this to me in an email and I wanted to pass it on. WC )

As I reflect on this photograph, I see once again that not all the brave leave the “home of the brave” to enter battle; some are required now to be the brave of the home

It is said a picture is worth a thousand words but it leaves me speechless and tears in my eyes.

We have a long list of good friends whose husbands are deploying to Iraq next month. One of the wives sent me this. We feel compelled to send it on. Your prayers are deeply appreciated. These guys deserve our love, our hugs and most powerfully, our prayers.

I understand that life in Iraq is very difficult to bear right now. Our troops need our prayers for strength, endurance and safety.

“Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need… Amen.”

Please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our troops around the world.

Of all the gifts you could give a US Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine deployed in harm’s way, prayer is the very best!!!

We Remember

Last year I stumbled upon this website and was truly touched by what I read. A blogger decided to put together a tribute for all the 911 victims and called it Project 2996. I signed up to do a tribute on this blog and pulled the name of a NYC fireman – Steve Mercado. You may have noticed his picture in my sidebar. I keep it there as a reminder to myself of what we lost that day and also, so that I will never forget that there are real heroes in the world.

This year I will be doing another tribute and I suppose as long as I have this blog I will continue to do tributes to these citizens whose lives were cut short simply for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

I would encourage any of you to please visit the website and consider doing a tribute. It really doesn’t take that much time and it can mean so much to those who lost loved ones on that terrible day.

But I warn you, if you endeavor to be part of this project, it will change you. It will take hold of someplace deep inside of you and give you eyes you didn’t know you had. And you will feel things you didn’t know were there to feel. It will make you step outside of yourself and your world and take you on a journey to your heart of hearts.

I hope that you will consider doing a tribute and that if you do, it will forever change you.

WC

USS New York

A friend sent me this in an email and I wanted to share it.

It was built with 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center.

It is the fifth in a new class of warship – designed for missions that include special operations against terrorists. It will carry a crew of 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines to be delivered ashore by helicopters and assault craft.

Steel from the World Trade Center was melted down in a foundry in Amite, LA to cast the ship’s bow section. When it was poured into the molds on Sept 9, 2003, “those big rough steelworkers treated it with total reverence,” recalled Navy Capt. Kevin Wensing, who was there. “It was a spiritual moment for everybody there.”

Junior Chavers, foundry operations manager, said that when the trade center steel first arrived, he touched it with his hand and the “hair on my neck stood up.” “It had a big meaning to it for all of us,” he said. “They knocked us down. They can’t keep us down. We’re going to be back.”

The ship’s motto? “Never Forget”

Now, that’s a motto I can relate to – I will never forget.  WC

Happy Father’s Day, Pop

It’s Father’s Day and it’s been a while since I’ve really celebrated it because my Pop passed away several years ago. An earlier post I did, will tell you about my dad. My first true hero. To say I loved him with all my heart puts it mildly. He meant the world to me. And he still does. I suppose in a way I try to ignore Father’s Day, so I don’t have to miss him even more than I already do. His funny little giggle, and crusty voice, his clear blue eyes and big belly – his everything.

But I don’t want to get all sad and lonely in this post. I want to tell you about him. Just a little. It’s just a small little story but one that I love.

Long after I’d grown up and moved out to California, with my own place and my own life – I used to talk to him on the phone. Probably once a month or so. Not about anything in particular. We just talked about whatever was going on or on our minds. We ‘got’ each other very well, and there always was a real easiness between us. So, this one night we were gabbing on the  phone and he hit all the usual dad bases, who was I dating? were they good to me? how was the job? what kind of car was I driving? when was I leaving the land of terrible earthquakes? stuff like that.

Then the topic rolled around to him. “So, what’s new with you?” I asked. A pause. Eh? Dad never paused when you asked him something. “What?”

“Aw…never mind,” he said. I could swear I almost heard him blushing.

Too curious to let it pass, I said, “What? What is it?”

“Oh, you’ll just make fun of me,” he stalled.

“I will not,” I insisted. “What is it?” I was starting to get a little worried – no one was more of an open book than my Pop and he was a straight from the hip kind of guy, so I knew something was up. “Oh for cripes sake, would you just tell me?”

“Okay,” he said, none too pleased. “Well, I started taking night classes at the local high school.” Pop had never finished high school, something he always regretted.

“Well, that’s great, Dad. What are you taking? Photography? Writing?”

“No, I’m getting my diploma.”

“In what?” I asked, apparently to dense to get what he meant.

“My high school diploma. I went back to school and got my diploma,” he said as though relieved to confess his deep dark secret.

I was so happy for him. I knew what it meant to him and I could tell he was happy about it too. “That’s great! That’s really great, Pop. When are  you going to finish?”

He laughed. “I already did. Mickey (my little sister) and I are having a joint graduation party next week.”

Now, this may seem a bit small to some of you – and I’ll admit that in the greater scheme it probably is. But I swelled with pride when he told me. That at age 60, he would go back to school and right something he thought he’d done wrong 40 years before, really knocked me out. He didn’t do it for any reason, or anyone, just himself. Just because it was important to him – a goal he’d never reached but wanted to. And then to have his graduation party with the youngest of his five children was like the cherry on the ice cream sundae.

And that was my dad. The guy who just followed his heart and never stopped trying to grow or learn throughout his life. I don’t think I was ever prouder of him than I was in that moment.

So, Pop…wherever you are, whether up in Heaven looking down on me, or reincarnated as an American Bald Eagle soaring through the sky – you still are and always will my hero. Happy Father’s Day, Pop.

Love,

Annie

Author, Author

Mark Twain was (and still is today, in my mind) one of the best authors America has ever had to offer. His agile mind never missed a trick of human nature, nor an opportunity to make fun of himself and those around him. My all time favorite book, Letters from Earth, is a must read, if you haven’t already.

Below, (editorial comment mine & in bold) what he has to say about authors:

WC 

I have been an author for 20 years and an ass for 55. (I’m working on getting there myself)
Mark Twain, a Biography

Experience is an author’s most valuable asset; experience is the thing that puts the muscle and the breath and the warm blood into the book he writes. (No argument there)
Is Shakespeare Dead

Authorship is not a trade, it is an inspiration; authorship does not keep an office, its habitation is all out under the sky, and everywhere the winds are blowing and the sun is shining and the creatures of God are free. (Can I get a witness?)
– A petition to the Queen of England, 1887 (plea for exemption from English tax on royalties)

An author values a compliment even when it comes from a source of doubtful competency. (Yes, we are comment whores, aren’t we?)
Mark Twain’s Autobiography

I never saw an author who was aware that there is any dimensional difference between a fact and a surmise. (Can you say, poetic license?)
– quoted in My Father Mark Twain, by Clara Clemens

There are three infallible ways of pleasing an author, and the three form a rising scale of compliment: 1, To tell him you have read one of his books; 2, To tell him you have read all of his books; 3, To ask him to let you read the manuscripts of his forthcoming book. No. 1 admits you to his respect; no. 2 admits you to his admiration; No. 3 carries you clear into his heart. (The secrets to a writer’s heart)
Pudd’nhead Wilson

An Undeniable Force

 

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever, is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. [Philippians 4:8].

I have always believed in the lesson of Easter. The ascension of good over evil, light over darkness. To reflect on the idea that there was someone so purely good that he would die for the transgressions of the rest of humanity is staggering. Even if you don’t prescribe to Christainity or believe in any aspect of it, the story of Christ must give one pause.

I know that it is cool and hip to bash Christianity and in fact, organized religion in general these days. That depicting Christ as a criminal, a pervert or even a monster is what passes as art or edgy dialogue – but I reject that as having any validity. To disagree with something does not mean to denigrate it.

The lessons and teachings of Christ are valuable, in fact, most of the moral and belief systems in the world follow the architecture of those lessons. Ponder that for a moment.

Though I was raised as a Catholic (strong Christian attitudes there) I don’t identify myself as a Catholic. The reasons for this are not important to anyone but myself. Nonetheless, I don’t reject Christ as a saviour. Even if he was merely a man, the effect he had and continues to have on the world is worthy of respect and awe. And I can think of few who have had a comparable impact on the world, perhaps no one has.

Even if he was only a symbol of peace on Earth, that symbol brought mankind out of darkness and gave the light of hope. How could this be a bad thing? What could be a better gift to your fellows?

When I was a little girl, I always loved the stories of Jesus and his teachings – they made me feel that there was true goodness in the world. Something the world needed desperately and still does.

So over this weekend, while I am enjoying myself with food and celebration – chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs, I will reflect on how this incredible man changed the world.

Happy Easter everybody.

WC

If You Could Be Any…

literary or movie character, from any time period, who would you be? Being a lover of books and movies I find this question intriguing and appealing, so I’ll answer it.

 

If I could be any literary character I would be Dagney Taggert who is the hero in Atlas Shrugged. I know that some might think that John Galt is the hero but I’d disagree with them. Dagney is the epitome of guts, glory and rugged individualism. She is beautiful, smart, strong, innovative, self-sufficient and lives life on her own terms. But she is also all woman and when she finds the man of her heart she gives herself completely to him. Amazing. Amazing journey too. This 1,000 page plus book is a story of mamoth proportions but I loved being in that world for its entirety. How I wish I had two weeks to do nothing but read – I would go there again in a heartbeat.

 

If I could be any movie character, I would be Margo in All About Eve – played flawlessly by Bette Davis. She is brilliant, spoiled, talented, insecure, sexy as hell in a broken glass kind of way – and whips the hell out of the little schemer in the end. Ah…the pause that refreshes.

So, what about y’all? Who would you want to be and why, if you care to tell us.

WC

What Do Movies Meme?

 

Using AFI’s list of 100 Top Movies, bold the ones you’ve seen, ital ones you’d like to see and add up to three that you think should be on the list.

1. CITIZEN KANE (1941) Brilliant mostly for its cinematic features, the story itself is over-rated in my opinion.
2. CASABLANCA (1942) A real classic – love it still.
3. THE GODFATHER (1972) To me, the epitome of gangster movies which meant for me I no longer had to see any more ganster movies which generally are boring as hell.


4. GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) a movie I was satisfied to see once.
5. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962) a movie that was almost as hard to watch as Reds.
6. THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) still afraid of those flying monkeys.
7. THE GRADUATE (1967)
8. ON THE WATERFRONT (1954) The speech with Brando and Malden in the cab is the best part.
9. SCHINDLER’S LIST (1993) Truly touched me.
10. SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (1952) Who doesn’t love this one?
11. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) always gets to me.
12. SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950)
13. THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957) I never really ‘got’ this movie. What was the big deal?
14. SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959) Nothing funnier than Curtis and Lemon in drag.
15. STAR WARS (1977) Once was more than enough to see any of these movies.
16. ALL ABOUT EVE (1950) If  you haven’t seen this, you must the dialogue alone is worth watching it.
17. THE AFRICAN QUEEN (1951)
18. PSYCHO (1960)


19. CHINATOWN (1974) The sequel The Two Jakes is decent too.
20. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST (1975)
21. THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1940)
yawn!
22. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) yawn!
23. THE MALTESE FALCON (1941)
24. RAGING BULL (1980)
25. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982)
26. DR. STRANGELOVE (1964)
27. BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967)
28. APOCALYPSE NOW (1979)
29. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939) Classic
30. THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (1948)
31. ANNIE HALL (1977)
32. THE GODFATHER PART II (1974)
33. HIGH NOON (1952)
34. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962) I dare you to watch this movie and not feel changed by it.
35. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934)
36. MIDNIGHT COWBOY (1969) Very sad and tragic I thought.
37. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946)
38. DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) True Film Noir.


39. DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)
40. NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) I was fascinated by the shine in Eva Marie Saint’s hair in this one. How did they do it?
41. WEST SIDE STORY (1961) Urban Romeo and Juliet which has never been improved upon.
42. REAR WINDOW (1954)
43. KING KONG (1933)
44. THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915)
45. A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951)  Blanche Dubois is one of the most unique characters ever written in my opinion.
46. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971) Ugh, hated this
47. TAXI DRIVER (1976)
48. JAWS (1975) One of the best scary movies ever.
49. SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937)
50. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969)
51. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940)
52. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953)
53. AMADEUS (1984)
54. ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930)
55. THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965)
56. M*A*S*H (1970)
57. THE THIRD MAN (1949)
58. FANTASIA (1940)
59. REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955)
60. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)
61. VERTIGO (1958)
62. TOOTSIE (1982)
63. STAGECOACH (1939)
64. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977) The mashed potato scene is my favorite.
65. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991) Chianti and fava beans, yummy.
66. NETWORK (1976)
67. THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962) This version was superior to the recent remake.
68. AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (1951)
69. SHANE (1953)
70. THE FRENCH CONNECTION (1971)
71. FORREST GUMP (1994)
72. BEN-HUR (1959)
73. WUTHERING HEIGHTS (1939)
74. THE GOLD RUSH (1925)
75. DANCES WITH WOLVES (1990) I only remember how I longed for this movie to be over.
76. CITY LIGHTS (1931)
77. AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973)
78. ROCKY (1976) Despite all the terrible sequels the original was one of the best movies every made.
79. THE DEER HUNTER (1978)
80. THE WILD BUNCH (1969)
81. MODERN TIMES (1936)
82. GIANT (1956)
83.
PLATOON (1986)
84. FARGO (1996)
85. DUCK SOUP (1933)
86. MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (1935)
87.
FRANKENSTEIN (1931)
88. EASY RIDER (1969)
89. PATTON (1970)
90. THE JAZZ SINGER (1927)
91. MY FAIR LADY (1964)
92. A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951)
93. THE APARTMENT (1960)
94. GOODFELLAS (1990)
95. PULP FICTION (1994) totally over-rated and stupid.
96. THE SEARCHERS (1956)
97. BRINGING UP BABY (1938)
98. UNFORGIVEN (1992) Not bad, but did it really deserve all those oscars?
99. GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER (1967)
100. YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942) It was a hoot to see Cagny dancing and singing after all those ganster movies.

I have seen 78 out of 100 – wow, even I’m surprised. The three I would add to the list are:

101. THE CAINE MUTINY
102. BODY HEAT 
103. WHITE CHRISTMAS

The three I’d remove from the list are:

1. Lawrence of Arabia
2. The Godfather Part II
3. Grapes of Wrath

What are your picks?
WC