Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Goodnight, My Angel ...

A drowsy afternoon for me, with a nap, and me doing practically nothing all day. I'm tired and just feeling lazy. I watched some of Ken Burns latest PBS video, which left me feeling down. It's not an uplifting program. So as it ended I switched channels, hoping something diverting would turn up.

Yeah, that's how bad it is today. Bored, tired, and getting a trifle cranky. So that's how I ended up at the Pinellas County School System television channel. I managed to miss the latest rerun of a school board meeting, and landed as they were airing what is called "Arts", which sometimes is video of performances or music with video or photos. Kind of like a blog video, I guess. I watched a stop-action version of Peter and the Wolf (cute, though Peter looked like one of the characters in a tissue ad), and a clip from the Peer Gynt Suite with lovely footage of the Norwegian countryside. It faded out and faded in to show six fellows on a stage - The King's Singers - dressed in suits, and I was about to switch the channel. Who needs to watch this, right?

But the title came on and I was intrigued. It's an acappella group, and they're about to perform one of the prettiest songs from the mind and pen of Billy Joel. The song is called "Lullabye (Goodnight my Angel)" and Joel wrote it for his daughter. This is one of those songs I tried to learn to play on my guitar, but haven't the skill for. I love this song. It's a tear-jerker kind of tune. And when Billy Joel sings it you can feel his emotions and love for his daughter coming through. Not a Rock 'N Roll tune by any stretch of the imagination.

So I watched and listened to "The King's Singers" perform this, and then leaped up - ooOOoooh! Energy! - and headed to the computer to track it down. Find the group, find the audio track, find it!

Whew! Took awhile, and I can't afford to buy a CD (which I could not find anyway), and my computer won't play DVDs (so I could rip the video to post), and I finally found one site that will play the audio. Nice but I wanted to keep looking. Then I found it! At!

The audio is a bit soft, so you may want to jack up your volume. But please listen and watch. If you have enjoyed some of the music and videos I've posted before, trust me on this: this is wonderful.

So as I find Joel performing it I'll post that, too.

So here goes. The King's Singers. And Billy Joel's "Lullabye (Goodnight my Angel)"

Lullabye (Goodnight my Angel)
~ Billy Joel

Goodnight, my angel
Time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day
I think I know what you've been asking me
I think you know what I've been trying to say
I promised I would never leave you
And you should always know
Wherever you may go
No matter where you are
I never will be far away

Goodnight, my angel
Now it's time to sleep
And still so many things I want to say
Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay
And like a boat out on the ocean
I'm rocking you to sleep
The water's dark and deep
Inside this ancient heart
You'll always be a part of me

Goodnight, my angel
Now it's time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry
And if you sing this lullabye
Then in your heart
There will always be a part of me

Someday we'll all be gone
But lullabyes go on and on...
They never die
That's how you
And I
Will be

The King's Singers
Lullabye (Goodnight my Angel)
Billy Joel (arr. Lawson)
(c) 2005 lambic Productions Limited
Signum Records

The King's Singers

Here's Billy Joel's studio video of the song. It's on YouTube, and I suspect that Joel posted it himself. It is not allowed to be embedded. So please click the link and watch and listen to this. Then tell me what you think. I love it!

Monday, September 24, 2007

A 75th Anniversary

75th Anniversary Logo

Seventy-five years ago the franchise for a National Football League Team was purchased by Bert Bell and Lud Wray for the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. The entry fee was a hefty $2,500.00 and the Great Depression was going strong. Two seasons before - midway through the 1931 season - the previous franchise-holder - the Frankford Yellow Jackets - had gone bankrupt and could not finish the season. Their final game: a win over the Chicago Bears in Chicago, something a Philadelphia football team would not accomplish again until 1999.

Some thought that the new club, named the Eagles in honor of the New Deal programs of F.D.R. was merely a renaming, under new owners, of the Yellow Jackets. That is not the case, though it's a sort of romantic view, since the Yellow Jackets began their existence in 1899 as the Frankford Athletic Association.

No, what Bell and Wray purchased was the right to field a new football team. And they did.

Flag of Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaThis new team adopted the colors of the City of Philadelphia: Yellow and Blue which commemorate the original Swedish colonization of Philadelphia. Odd colors for an Eagle, but I suppose there was a bit of P.R. involved. So this new NFL team took the field and promptly looked liked losers, which they have been for most of the past seventy-five years. A tough thing to be in a city that is extremely tough on its sports teams. "Boo Birds" live in Philly, and have spread from there. But the soul and spirit of the Boo Birds resides in Philly. You ain't heard Boo Birds unless you've attended or watched a game in Philadelphia.

How did I get to this post? I went in to work early Sunday, and got home in time to watch my adopted football team - the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - play the final half of their game. They looked good and won convincingly. At times the station would update scores from around the NFL, and one of those was the Philly game. I heard the score - 42 to 21 - and figured the game must be over. Good for the Eagles, right? No, it was late in the second quarter! What? I turned my head to see big men dressed in yellow and blue, traipsing down the field! I had to guess that the odd colors had scared the opposing team. The final score was 56 to 21, and the Eagles won. But, what the hell was the deal with the ugly uniforms?

Ahhhh, the explanation came that this was the team's 75th Anniversary Celebration! Ohhhh, that explains the bad taste! Now, had they been serious about this "throwback" game, they would have supplied old-style uniforms with leather pads, and helmets, and no facemasks. But, no. Only the colors were changed, and the impressive Eagle wings that have adorned the helmets for decades were back to the original shape. Here's what the celebration uniforms look like.

Anniversary colors - helmet
Anniversary colors - jersey

Okay, maybe they're not the ugliest football uniforms of modern times, but they aren't imposing. They're about as impressive as the Orange Creamsicle uniforms of the old Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Yech!

Steve Van BurenNow here's what one of the greatest players of all-time looked like in his Eagle's uniform in 1950. This is Steve Van Buren, a Hall of Famer, who retired as the all-time yardage leader among NFL players. He came before the magic and power of Jim Brown, but Van Buren was an incredible running back. The best of his time. But then, he wasn't playing in blue and yellow!

A tough photo of Van BurenLook at the picture. What's missing? No facemask, huh? By the time of this picture the Eagles had chosen Kelly Green as their color, and would keep it for a long time.

Like other teams in the NFL the Eagles logo has changed as have the colors. Now the green is a dark shade called "Midnight Green", along with white, silver, and black. And you have to admit that on the right player the uniform is imposing. And the logo is nice, too. But after all, seventy-five years have gone by. Some things have been bound to change. Sadly, for Philly fans, the heady days of Championship Football has not returned since the 1948 - 1950 years, or the 1960 NFL Champs who beat the Vince Lombardi-coached Green Bay Packers. No, they have become contenders. Bridesmaids, really. But we Philly fans do not give up. This is the year! (even if it isn't)

Modern Eagle's helmetBut please!!!! Don't bring back the sissy colors again! Please!!!!!
Van Buren during his heyday!
How they used to play the game! Van Buren on the run!

Happy Anniversary, Philadelphia Eagles!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cultures And Personalities: Disease And Health


Culture means a lot of things to people. Most of those things we never think about, if we even notice them at all. Somebody described culture as a Society's personality. I think that's about right. And you can certainly tell a lot about a person from their personality.

Not everything, certainly, but you can get a heaping helping of who they are, inside, from the personality they display. The same goes, I think, for a Society, be it a Knitting Circle, Poker Club, Religion, or a Nation.

We have seen the effluvium of one culture washing ashore in our own Nation, weakening our resolve, threatening our very existence, damaging our spirit, and we as a Nation seem unable to recognize it for the poisonous Evil that it is. We refuse to unite as a Society to stem the tide of this poisonous culture as it washes ashore. We fear offending the adherents to this culture because they like to use our own culture as a weapon against us.

Some among us cannot even see that this culture is anything out of the ordinary, and attempt to sway us with the bizarre claims that if we simply step carefully it will not touch us, nor infect us. But it has. You probably recognize that poisonous culture as Islamism, Islamofascism, Wahabbism, or any of the various names it has garnered.

The culture of modern Islamism is a poison. You can detect the effects of that poison from the various nations which it controls and degrades. Just as you can see the family culture of those who are thieves, addicts, abusers, you can see the same in the acts of those people who live within and support Islamism. This culture feeds off the successes and achievements of those it infiltrates, subjects, and destroys. It creates nothing of its own save economic ruin, degradation of its women, violent attacks against those who resist, and the terror of its cowardly homicidal way of dealing with better, more successful, peaceful cultures. The people of the Islamist nations are illiterate, ignorant, poverty-stricken, disease-ridden serfs, subjugated to the poisonous Mullahs who attain power through intimidation and slaughter.

And still, knowing the facts, our own people seem reluctant to point to the disease, and say, "Unclean!" Our own people have been subjected to the slow erosion of common sense by agents of yet another poisonous culture: Socialism/Communism. Through the control of the education system, the media, and the governmental agencies that have the power to destroy us, the Left has poisoned our people, and continue to do so. They use the weapons of the Big Lie, the massive media-supported personal attacks, and attempt to silence those who would warn us of the disease.

After nearly a century of Leftist-guided education, our people find themselves nearly weaponless, unable to defend ourselves. Our children are taught in the government schools that right and wrong are simply words, which can mean almost anything. They are taught that every culture is equal, but that their own is Evil. They are subjected to political indoctrination which tries to "dumb them down" and make them passive sponges who will absorb and squeeze out any mindless drivel they wish to drum into their heads.

Memorial to the Victims of Communism, Prague, Czech RepublicThe Leftists have been so successful at this that the demise of the Communist Bloc barely slowed them or embarrassed them at all. They continue their drive to reduce Americans to powerless automatons, dependent on an all-powerful government, willing to cast aside what they know is fact for what the Leftists tell them is so. And they have reduced our offspring to rude, loud, spoiled nitwits who believe they can do whatever they wish, whenever they wish, and suffer no consequences for their actions.

Which brings me to the latest insanity of the diseased culture in America, Andrew Meyer, erstwhile victim of Police Brutality at the University of Florida. Meyer, displaying the arrogance of the spoiled, leftist-educated, loudmouth, decided to harangue Senator John Kerry at a speech at the University. His was not a rational, respectful question, but rambling, dis-jointed harangues that made little sense, and may have been intended to gain a laugh or two from his friends. Typical of the Leftist rules for public engagement, he was "just trying to ask a question". But that is not what these diseased individuals are doing. By asking ugly questions, hurling abuse, screaming at the top of their lungs, and appealing for help from the crowd, these individuals do their level best to provoke a response and embarrass those they are haranguing. They fight the police and complain that they were roughed up. They refuse to allow others to speak and complain that they are not being allowed to speak. (Leftists believe that freedom of speech is only for their use. A symptom of the diseased culture of Leftism.)

In the case of Meyer, he was near the back of a line of students who were going to ask Kerry questions. When the moderator announced that time was running short he bulled his way to the front (Rude, thoughtless actions are another symptom of this diseased Leftist culture) and "had his say". Here's what a witness had to say in an email to Michelle Malkin:
Since Meyer and I were both in the back of each line, it did not seem likely that our questions would be answered.

However, while Senator Kerry was responding to a student’s question, all of a sudden Meyer rushed to the microphone with cops in pursuit. At that point no one knew what was going on. Could he have a gun, a bomb? Immediately, Meyer began yelling into the microphone that he had been waiting in line forever and that Senator Kerry should “spend time to answer everyone’s questions!” Senator Kerry tried to calm the student down by telling him that he would “stay here as long as it takes to get the questions answered.” The police approached Meyer who began taunting them by saying “what! are you going to taser me? are you going to arrest me?!” The police grabbed Meyer, but Senator Kerry asked the police to let him go and that he would answer his question. Senator Kerry finished answering the other student’s question and then proceeded with Meyer. (*This entire scene is not in any video I can find so far. This is why 2 cops are seen right behind Meyer at the start of some videos*).

Meyer approached the microphone and began to talk about a book he had which stated that Kerry won the 2004 election because of disenfranchisement of black voters and faulty voter machines that produced “Bush” as the winner. He then posed another question about why President Bush had not been impeached. “President Clinton was impeached because of a blowjob, why not Bush?”. The third and strangest question he posed to Senator Kerry was asking him if he was part of the skull and bones society with Bush at Yale. Meyer’s mic cut off after that, probably because he had mentioned the word “blowjob”. The cops grabbed him, but Meyer was able to get away several times. Eventually more cops were brought in to help subdue Meyer. Meyer continued to resist arrest, scream, curse; however he was eventually subdued by about six cops up around the entrance. As he is on the ground, he is told several times to put his hands around his back. He is also warned that he will be tasered if he does not comply. Eventually he is tasered twice. The video does not show whether he complied or not.

Senator Kerry was trying to answer his question to the audience, mostly the one about faulty voter machines. I am a die hard conservative Republican but I do respect Senator Kerry for trying to soothe the situation as best he could and trying not to escalate the situation. He DID intervene by letting the student at least present his question. I never received an opportunity to ask my question, but when Senator Kerry ended the show after the Meyer incident, he did come off stage to shake hands and give autographs. At that point, I was able to ask him my question, shake his hand, and get a autograph at the same time. Now why couldn’t Andrew Meyer do that?

The witness has been inoculated by his parents against the culture of the Left. Meyer hasn't been - his parents are probably fully infected. They will undoubtedly sue the University Police for brutality, despite the evidence that Meyer fought them. The Left already is raising Meyer to the status of a Martyr, and denouncing poor Senator Kerry for not denouncing the police actions fast enough. Because Meyer simply did what the Leftist-infected Democrat Party now considers legitimate political activity. Stalking opponents, or those not on the "in" is how the Left keeps the rest of us in line. It's part and parcel of the Leftist Culture. Why is this a problem?

To fight infection you need the will to defeat it, and the means to do so. The Left would leave us unarmed, and without the will to resist anything. By minimizing the danger to our nation and our culture from Islamism, the Left leaves us exposed to massive attacks and unable to respond. They would see us destroyed rather than to join in the fight against the disease. Why? Because the Left is a disease itself.

When the World Trade Center was destroyed, the Pentagon was almost destroyed, and a fourth attack was thwarted on 9/11/01, the healthy response of most Americans was, "Who did this? Where are they? What are we gonna do about it?" The Left remained quiet for a short time while pretending to support the American anger at the sneak attack on civilians and the innocent. But soon enough they began their mindless drumming of introspective drivel. They flooded the media with their idiotic statements and questions.

"What did we do to deserve this?"

"Why do they hate us?"

"Why are we rushing to judgement on this?" (That, within days of the attacks, and continuing right up to the invasion of Afghanistan and then Iraq.)

"It was an isolated incident." (The favorite of the governmental types)

"Islam is a Religion of Peace." (This despite Islam's history of endless, bloody violence to spread their warped religious tenets to the world.)

"The attacks were by Israel." (Another typical symptom of the disease of Leftism and Islamism.)

"Our own government did it to get us into a war for oil." (Is there any medication that can cure this evident derangement?)

Two diseased Cultures are attacking the American body. One is the violent, primitive disease of Islamism. The other is the debunked, inhuman disease of Leftism. One attacks us primarily from without while infiltrating our borders and planning horrendous attacks on us from within. The other works primarily from within, debasing and degrading our political system, ruining our education system, destroying our culture, and thus our Society.

American Culture is unique, and rowdy, turbulent, loud, and boisterous. We are a people filled with a love of the individual, and a suspicion of the mob. We are at times a greedy people, while quick to give our money, belongings, time and effort to those in need. We are bull-headed at times, and thoughtful at others, leery of involving ourselves in the affairs of other nations, but quick to come to the aid of our International friends. We have created a government that is supposed to protect our rights, and allow our citizens the greatest possible freedom in our lives.

That is our Culture. The Cultures of the Islamists and the Leftists would willingly destroy that. We are healthy but exposed, and the diseases of Islamism and Leftism are attacking us ceaselessly. Will we win, or will the diseased cultures win?

Whose personality would you see triumphant?


Please read "Americanism versus Anti-Americanism" at

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Turning Point: The Battles of Saratoga

At Bemis Heights, a site overlooking the Hudson River in New York, and commanding the narrow road that followed the river, General Horatio Gates set up his fortifications with the help and suggestions of engineering officer Tadeusz Kosciuszko as well as General Benedict Arnold. The American artillery was aimed at the road affording the approaching British Army, under General John "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne, the option of making their way up the confining bluffs and working their way through the dense forest, or retreating to Canada.

Gates' forces outnumbered those of Burgoyne and were being reinforced steadily from the surrounding areas. Burgoyne would receive no reinforcements. Gates was close to his supply base in Albany, while Burgoyne's supply line to Canada was cut off. And Winter was approaching - the harsh winter of the American wilderness. Burgoyne, confident in the virtues of his Army and himself, continued on his march south, intent on joining up with another British Army at Albany, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Barry St. Leger. But Leger had been defeated by General Arnold at the Seige of Fort Stanwix.

Now Benedict Arnold commanded the left, northern, flank of the American force that waited behind the fortifications on Bemis Heights.
The early morning of September 19th was cold and foggy. As the morning mist lifted, scouts brought word to Gates that Burgoyne was moving forward toward the American works in three columns. General Fraser's column of elite British and Brunswick soldiers was moving to the west to outflank the American works. General Hamilton's column of four British regiments supported Fraser but marched toward the center of the American works. General Riedesel's Brunswick column was to advance along the river road and pin down Gate's right flank. Burgoyne appeared to have been hoping to either outflank the American works (as Gates' scouts and local guides had warned him) or draw the Americans into battle in the open where he felt his regulars could beat them.

"On the 19th, just when advice was received that the enemy were approaching," wrote Arnold to Gates on September 22, "I took the liberty to give you as my opinion that we ought to march out and attack them, you desired me to send Colonel Morgan and the Light Infantry, and support them, I obeyed your orders, and before the action was over I found it necessary to send out the whole of my division to support the attack no other troops were engaged that day except Colonel Marshall's regiment of General Patterson's brigade ."


Morgan's brigade advanced along a wide front searching for the enemy. Strung out in a extended skirmish line, Dearborn's Light Infantry held the left while the rifles, slightly ahead held of them held the right. First blood went to the rifles, about noon, when they ran into Hamilton's advanced piquette led by Major Forbes near Freeman's farm. Although they routed Forbes' command, the rifles then ran into Hamilton's deployed brigade. At the same time, Fraser detached two companies of the 24th regiment that hit them in the flank which scattered the riflemen. Also, Dearborn's Light Infantry had engaged the Canadian volunteers and Captain Fraser's British Marksmen company.

To support the light troops the Americans then committed the remainder of Poor's brigade. But they were sent out in a piecemeal fashion. The 1st New Hampshire regiment blundered forward into the gap between the rifles and the light infantry. Lt. Blake of that regiment wrote about the initial fighting,

"about 12 o'clock the First New Hampshire regiment marched out to meet the enemy. We met them about one mile from our encampment, where the engagement began very closely and continued about 20 minutes, in which time we lost so many men, and received no reinforcements, that we were obliged to retreat, but before we got to the encampment we met two regiments (2nd and 3rd New Hampshire regiments) coming out as a reinforcement, when we returned and renewed the attack which continued very warm until dark..."

By three o'clock, both the 2nd and 3rd New York regiments had also arrived on the field. Further reinforcements were sent out later in the afternoon as the fighting grew. While the majority of the American forces engaged the British center column under Hamilton and Burgoyne, Dearborn and Lattermore's militia regiment skirmished against Fraser's troops.


For the remainder of the afternoon, the American right pounded Hamilton's brigade in a back and forth battle around the farm. Isolated by ravines, hills and woods, Fraser guarded Hamilton's right flank and skirmished against the remaining Americans closer to him. Fraser did send reinforcements to Hamilton during the day (i.e. Brunswick Jagers, Chasseurs and possibly some companies of Light Infantry) (24). No orders appear to have come from Burgoyne, who stayed with Hamilton and occupied himself rallying stray fugitives from the fight. In addition to the Brigades of Poor and Learned, an additional reinforcement also reached the battle line. Major William Hull, of the 8th Massachusetts regiment was doing duty with the piquetts in front of the American encampment. Hull is usually remembered today as the elderly commander who surrendered Detroit to the British in 1812. Completely forgotten is the first class service he gave as a young combat officer during the Revolution.

According to Hull's memoirs:

"...General Arnold rode to the ground which was occupied by the guard of Major Hull. He called the officers around him, and inquired what number of men was at that post. He was informed that it consisted of the guard of two hundred and fifty men, and two regiments. General Arnold then said, that three hundred volunteers, to be commanded by a field officer, must immediately reinforce the troops which were engaged....As none of the field officers offered their services, Major Hull observed to him, that he commanded the guard on that day... but if he could be excused from duty, he would be happy to command the detachment. General Arnold replied, that he would excuse him, and directed the colonels of the two regiments to call for three hundred volunteers and a suitable number of captains and subalterns to command them. In a few moments, the number required was paraded and formed into four companies, with officers assigned to them. We at once commenced our march to the center of the engagement. Major Hull was directed to receive his orders from General Poor of the New Hampshire, who commanded the troops then closely engaged with the enemy."

As darkness descended on the battlefield, Hamilton's brigade of four British regiments appeared to be almost overwhelmed by the superior American numbers. General Reidesel, commanding the Brunswick troops on the left flank detached part of his force that now arrived to take the Americans in the flank. In addition, Fraser's grenadiers had stopped Learned's brigade (who were committed very late in the day) before they could deploy into action (26). Both sides had had enough by now and disengaged. Although Burgoyne claimed a victory, his forces had suffered twice the losses the Americans had. And Gates' army still barred the way towards Albany.

We have grown used to reading and hearing about just how weak-willed the rebellious Americans were in battle, despite such stern defenses as Bunker Hill and Cowpens. So when would the Americans turn a possible victory into another defeat? Would Gates pull away and let the British under Burgoyne go their merry, albeit bloodied, way? No. There was steel in those men, there at the Hudson River. Read on.

At the end of the day Burgoyne held the field while the Americans returned to their lines. As to who was the victor the casualty count tells it all. Burgoyne's losses, killed and wounded at six hundred and twenty, were double the three hundred inflicted on the Americans.

Burgoyne was "victorious" but trapped. On September 18th, one day before Freeman's Farm, John Brown, a Continental Colonel, and five hundred soldiers successfully attacked and captured a British outpost at the foot of Lake George. This forcedestroyed two hundred boats, captured three hundred British soldiers, and freed one hundred American prisoners. The limb Burgoyne had climbed out on was now totally severed.

On October 6th, Burgoyne made a decision. The lateness of the season, the lack of food for his army already on half rations with only three weeks of supply remaining left him little choice. Either he would reach Albany or if that were not possible he would begin an attempt to return to Canada on October 11th. Led by his most able commanders fifteen hundred men selected from his army began a reconnaissance in an effort to find a way around the American force.

Morgan's' riflemen and three thousand New York Regulars immediately challenged the British. The British advance was stopped their line broken and most of their artillery lost. They attempted to form a second line when Arnold, an observer without a command, ignored Gates orders, and atop a large black horse charged into the fray to lead three regiments of his old command in an assault. One of many he would lead that day.

Arnold and Morgan were the fire and sword of the American effort at the second battle of Saratoga. On the British side there was only one. Their catalyst was General Simon Fraser, a truly outstanding officer and man. It was General Fraser who rallied the British forces and who was bringing order out of chaos when Arnold spotted his actions. Arnold told Morgan that Fraser had to be eliminated. Morgan called his men together and gave orders to a file of his best marksmen: "That gallant officer is General Fraser. I admire and honor him, but it is necessary that he should die; victory for the enemy depends on him. Take your stations in that clump of bushes, and do your duty."

Timothy Murphy one of Morgan's sharpshooters mortally wounded Fraser a few minutes later. If the loss of General Fraser was not enough three thousand fresh New York Militia appeared on the field at which the ensuing British retreat became a general rout. Arnold followed up the British retreat by first leading an assault on the British Balcarres redoubt. In this he was unsuccessful, it being too heavily defended. Then he spied another opportunity and led a successful coordinated attack on the nearby Breymann's redoubt. According to contemporaneous accounts Arnold in the lead, still mounted on the black charger, leapt the wall followed by his men who breached the gate. Here he was shot in the leg below the knee, the bullet passed into his horse which collapsed and broke his leg. Arnold's last official battlefield command was that his men should spare the German who fired the shot.


It was all over for Burgoyne and his army. He had no choice but to surrender on October 16th. Arnold's capture of the Breymann's redoubt had left all remaining strong points indefensible. Burgoyne attempted a retreat and failed.

Burgoyne's Surrender by E. Percy Moran 1911
On November 1st, a fast sailing ship left Boston Harbor for France with the news of Burgoyne's surrender. By December 4th, Benjamin Franklin had received the dispatch and by December 6th, the King of France Louis XVI approved an alliance with America. Within sixty six days America as a result of that one victory at Saratoga gained by Arnold had won the sponsorship of the French Government -- the only country capable of challenging Britain.

In February 1778 France actively entered the war. As a result it was the French Navy, which finally helped end the war when it foiled the British Navy's attempt to support Cornwallis who was under siege by American and French troops. Cornwallis was forced to surrender in the last action of the American Revolution and it was all brought about by Arnold's victory at Saratoga.

This tremendous victory of the American forces over the British spelled doom for the British cause in America. The bravery of the fighting men involved was tremendous, and Benedict Arnold is credited with a large share of the laurels. But Arnold was not satisfied with the applause that came his way - it was not enough, as it had never been. A year and a half later he would sell his services to the British and become a byword for traitor.

An American officer captured by Arnold in Connecticut was asked by Arnold, "What would be my fate if I should be taken prisoner by the Americans?"

The officer replied, "They will cut off that leg of yours wounded at Quebec and Saratoga and bury it with all the honors of war. Then they will hang the rest of you on a gallows!"

As William Shakespeare said, "The evil that men do lives after them, The good is oft' interned with their bones."

So it is with Benedict Arnold. But the Battles of Saratoga, begun on the 19th of September in 1777, were among his finest moments and helped the fledgling Nation in its birth.

Information for this post gleaned from Mark Nichipor at "Benedict Arnold and The Battle of Saratoga", as well as J. Michael Flynn at "Cry Havoc! Magazine: Benedict Arnold: The Traitor Who Saved America". Please visit "Archiving Early America" for so much more information on this Nation's birth and early days.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Moon's A Harsh Mistress

Many years ago, when I was living in California, and working at a Treasury Department Store, I found a cassette of Glen Campbell. On it were many hits, including one obscure song I'd never heard before: "The Moon's A Harsh Mistress", written by Jimmy Webb. Jimmy Webb, if you don't recall, is the songwriter responsible for "MacArthur's Park" among many other hits.

I lost that cassette a long time ago, but never forgot the song, which I enjoyed so much. And I looked for it a long, long time. But it seemed to have disappeared completely. Recently I found a video of Linda Ronstadt singing the song, onstage with Jimmy Webb, but it was poor quality and left me with a bland feeling. Ronstadt is not one of my favorite singers.

The search went on.

I finally found an mp3 file of the song and downloaded it, hoping it was not a newer version. Nope! It's the real thing. I gathered some images - and couldn't find the ones I truly wanted - and cobbled together this short video. I hope you like it. Remember, it's the music.

Update: Well, the video won't play. So maybe I can get the music to show so you can play it.

The Moon's A Harsh Mistress
~ by: Jimmy Webb (From the album 'Reunion')

See her as she flies
Golden sails across the sky
Close enough to touch
But careful if you try

Though she looks as warm as gold
The moon's a harsh mistress
The moon can be so cold

Once the sun did shine
And lord it felt so fine
The moon a phantom rose
Through the mountains and the pine

And then the darkness fell
The moon's a harsh mistress
It's hard to love her well

I fell out of her eyes
I fell out of her heart
I fell down on my face
And I tripped and I missed my star

And I fell and fell alone
The moon's a harsh mistress
The sky is made of stone
The moon's a harsh mistress
She's hard to call your own

I've struggled with this for some time, and can view it in the "edit post" stage, but it doesn't show once published. Anybody else actually see it?

I will email it to anybody who wants it. ;)

Happy Birthday, U.S. Constitution!

“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

“A Republic, if you can keep it.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

We The People - Image courtesy of National Archives of the United States

James Madison, seeing the chaos that was enfolding the country under the weak Articles of Confederation, wanted a strong central government to provide order and stability. "Let it be tried then," he wrote, "whether any middle ground can be taken which will at once support a due supremacy of the national authority," while maintaining state power only when "subordinately useful." The resolute Virginian looked to the Constitutional Convention to forge a new government in this mold.

The convention had its specific origins in a proposal offered by Madison and John Tyler in the Virginia assembly that the Continental Congress be given power to regulate commerce throughout the Confederation. Through their efforts in the assembly a plan was devised inviting the several states to attend a convention at Annapolis, MD, in September 1786 to discuss commercial problems. Madison and a young lawyer from New York named Alexander Hamilton issued a report on the meeting in Annapolis, calling upon Congress to summon delegates of all of the states to meet for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation. Although the report was widely viewed as a usurpation of congressional authority, the Congress did issue a formal call to the states for a convention. To Madison it represented the supreme chance to reverse the country's trend. And as the delegations gathered in Philadelphia, its importance was not lost to others. The squire of Gunston Hall, George Mason, wrote to his son, "The Eyes of the United States are turned upon this Assembly and their Expectations raised to a very anxious Degree. May God Grant that we may be able to gratify them, by establishing a wise and just Government."

From the National Archives web site:The Federal Convention convened in the State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia on May 14, 1787, to revise the Articles of Confederation. Because the delegations from only two states were at first present, the members adjourned from day to day until a quorum of seven states was obtained on May 25. Through discussion and debate it became clear by mid-June that, rather than amend the existing Articles, the Convention would draft an entirely new frame of government. All through the summer, in closed sessions, the delegates debated, and redrafted the articles of the new Constitution. Among the chief points at issue were how much power to allow the central government, how many representatives in Congress to allow each state, and how these representatives should be elected--directly by the people or by the state legislators. The work of many minds, the Constitution stands as a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise.

220 years ago, this day, the members of the Convention, having finished writing a Constitution that would replace the Articles of Confederation, formally signed the document. Appealing for unity behind the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin declared,
"I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded like those of the builders of Babel; and that our States are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another's throats."

Constitution Mural
Barry Faulkner "Constitution Mural" (1936), Rotunda, National Archives Building

All that remained, following the signing by the delegates, was for nine states to ratify the new Constitution to make it the law of the land. It would not be easy. Americans have always been an independent sort, loathe to hand over what they perceive as their 'god-given' rights. And many were leery of allowing any change in the way the government worked.

From the National Archives: By January 9, 1788, five states of the nine necessary for ratification had approved the Constitution--Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut. But the eventual outcome remained uncertain in pivotal states such as Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia. On February 6, with Federalists agreeing to recommend a list of amendments amounting to a bill of rights, Massachusetts ratified by a vote of 187 to 168. The revolutionary leader, John Hancock, elected to preside over the Massachusetts ratifying convention but unable to make up his mind on the Constitution, took to his bed with a convenient case of gout. Later seduced by the Federalists with visions of the vice presidency and possibly the presidency, Hancock, whom Madison noted as "an idolater of popularity," suddenly experienced a miraculous cure and delivered a critical block of votes. Although Massachusetts was now safely in the Federalist column, the recommendation of a bill of rights was a significant victory for the anti-Federalists. Six of the remaining states later appended similar recommendations.

When the New Hampshire convention was adjourned by Federalists who sensed imminent defeat and when Rhode Island on March 24 turned down the Constitution in a popular referendum by an overwhelming vote of 10 to 1, Federalist leaders were apprehensive. Looking ahead to the Maryland convention, Madison wrote to Washington, "The difference between even a postponement and adoption in Maryland may . . . possibly give a fatal advantage to that which opposes the constitution." Madison had little reason to worry. The final vote on April 28 63 for, 11 against. In Baltimore, a huge parade celebrating the Federalist victory rolled. through the downtown streets, highlighted by a 15-foot float called "Ship Federalist." The symbolically seaworthy craft was later launched in the waters off Baltimore and sailed down the Potomac to Mount Vernon.

On July 2, 1788, the Confederation Congress, meeting in New York, received word that a reconvened New Hampshire ratifying convention had approved the Constitution. With South Carolina's acceptance of the Constitution in May, New Hampshire thus became the ninth state to ratify. The Congress appointed a committee "for putting the said Constitution into operation."

In the next 2 months, thanks largely to the efforts of Madison and Hamilton in their own states, Virginia and New York both ratified while adding their own amendments. The margin for the Federalists in both states, however, was extremely close. Hamilton figured that the majority of the people in New York actually opposed the Constitution, and it is probable that a majority of people in the entire country opposed it. Only the promise of amendments had ensured a Federalist victory.


A bill of rights had been barely mentioned in the Philadelphia convention, most delegates holding that the fundamental rights of individuals had been secured in the state constitutions. James Wilson maintained that a bill of rights was superfluous because all power not expressly delegated to the new government was reserved to the people. It was clear, however, that in this argument the anti-Federalists held the upper hand. Even Thomas Jefferson, generally in favor of the new government, wrote to Madison that a bill of rights was "what the people are entitled to against every government on earth."

By the fall of 1788 Madison had been convinced that not only was a bill of rights necessary to ensure acceptance of the Constitution but that it would have positive effects. He wrote, on October 17, that such "fundamental maxims of free Government" would be "a good ground for an appeal to the sense of community" against potential oppression and would "counteract the impulses of interest and passion."

Madison's support of the bill of rights was of critical significance. One of the new representatives from Virginia to the First Federal Congress, as established by the new Constitution, he worked tirelessly to persuade the House to enact amendments. Defusing the anti-Federalists' objections to the Constitution, Madison was able to shepherd through 17 amendments in the early months of the Congress, a list that was later trimmed to 12 in the Senate. On October 2, 1789, President Washington sent to each of the states a copy of the 12 amendments adopted by the Congress in September. By December 15, 1791, three-fourths of the states had ratified the 10 amendments now so familiar to Americans as the "Bill of Rights."

Benjamin Franklin told a French correspondent in 1788 that the formation of the new government had been like a game of dice, with many players of diverse prejudices and interests unable to make any uncontested moves. Madison wrote to Jefferson that the welding of these clashing interests was "a task more difficult than can be well conceived by those who were not concerned in the execution of it." When the delegates left Philadelphia after the convention, few, if any, were convinced that the Constitution they had approved outlined the ideal form of government for the country. But late in his life James Madison scrawled out another letter, one never addressed. In it he declared that no government can be perfect, and "that which is the least imperfect is therefore the best government."

United Sates Constitution

No, the United States Constitution is not perfect, but it is the best, perhaps, that imperfect Man can produce. It allows amendments, and has a certain minimal flexibility that modern law-makers do not understand. Remember that this is the Federal Constitution, limiting and delimiting the powers and 'rights' of the Federal government. It is not a document which limits we, the people. That is the most fundamental error that government types and the media make. The government does not limit us; we limit the government. And each time we allow the Federal government to do that which is not spelled out in the Constitution we hand over yet another piece of our sovereignty. Perhaps there is a 'penumbra' of rights afforded us, but it isn't by the Constitution. It is God-given. We are the Nation, we are the government. We are the rulers of this Nation. Not the President, not the Congress, not the Supreme Court. We, the People, are supreme.

And the writers of the United States Constitution knew that. Read the document. See for yourself. If you have never perused the Constitution beyond the preamble, then you are woefully uneducated. See for yourself what it says, and how it says it. Next time some fluff-minded talking head spouts off the gibberish about a 'living document', remember that it is not! It was not designed to be everything to everybody. It was designed to be a foundation for the central government, not a playhouse for those who seek power. The Federal government has the power to do anything it wishes, but it does not have the 'right'. Remember that the next time some elected official demands your money to pay for his personal pork-barrel project. He has no Constitutional right. Only the power of the bullet behind him.

Protect your Constitution! Protect your Nation! Vote out those who usurp your rights and take unto themselves that which is not theirs.

In any event: Happy Birthday, United States Constitution!

Information for this post gleaned from the National Archives.

Thanks to Sister Toldjah for the reminder! Patrick at Born Again Redneck remembers, too!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Will You Remember?

Why should we remember? Why is it important that the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, not be forgotten, not be laid to rest?

Cal Thomas has this to say in "Forget 9/11 at our peril":
'Throughout our young history, Americans have been admonished to “Remember the Alamo,” “Remember the Maine” and “Remember Pearl Harbor.” These remembrances and others were for the purpose of motivating the public to fight on until an enemy was vanquished. When victory was assured, the memory faded into history.

Now, as we approach the sixth anniversary of Sept. 11, there are suggestions that we should begin to forget the worst terrorist incident in America's history. Recently, a front-page story in The New York Times suggested it is becoming too much of a burden to remember the attack, that nothing new can be said about it and that, perhaps, Sept. 11 “fatigue” may be setting in.

Charlene Correia, a nursing supervisor from Acushnet, Mass., is quoted as saying, “I may sound callous, but doesn't grieving have a shelf life? We're very sorry and mournful that people died, but there are living people. Let's wind it down.”

Yes, Sept. 11 forces us to be serious, not only about those who died and why they died at the hands of religious fanatics, but also so that we won't forget that it could very well happen again and many of today's living might end up as yesterday's dead. That is the purpose of remembering Sept. 11, not to engage in perpetual mourning. The war goes on, and to be reminded of Sept. 11 serves as the ultimate protection against forgetfulness. Terrorists have not forgotten Sept. 11. Tape of the Twin Towers is used on jihadist Web sites for the purpose of recruiting new “martyrs.”'

Indeed, the forces that brought about those heinous, murderous, and cowardly attacks continue to exist, and in some places on this planet, flourish. They continue to plot and plan for the murder of more Americans and any who either support America or stand up to the Islamofascists. It really doesn't matter what American Leftists say about the Global War on Terror, because the terrorists are still out there, and all the sweet reason in the world will not sway them one iota from their desire for bloody murder of all who oppose them. The useful idiots who demand that Americans "solve" the problem through diplomacy will, no doubt, make preparations to be elsewhere when the next wave of attacks begin. One does not negotiate nor reason with members of a Death Cult. There is no 'solution' we could ever reach with them short of their complete annihilation.

But that takes a measure of testosterone, doesn't it? And for far too many of the chattering class testosterone is a vulgar word, much less an idea. "Can't we all just get along?" No. That's the simple and easy answer. We can't all just get along. For some the very idea of a free society is an affront to their twisted religious tenets. For these creatures nothing short of their own death will stop them. And nothing short of our complete attention to their existence, and the very real danger they pose, will suffice if we are to survive in all our sloppy, quarrelsome, naive glory.

Thomas continues:
'What's the matter with some people? Does remembering not only Sept. 11 but the stakes in this world war interfere too much with our pursuit of money, things and pleasure? Serious times require serious thought and serious action. In our frivolous times, full of trivialities and irrelevancies, to be serious is to abandon self-indulgence for survival, entertainment for the stiffened spine.'

In this era, where the boozy life and drug-assisted death of a marginal actress/model can capture the attention of the MSM for months, when the lies of power-hungry Leftists politicians are reported and supported as fact, when we can express outrage over dog-fighting accusations against an over-paid football player while we ignore the depredations of illegal aliens killing and raping our own people, are there enough truly serious men and women in this country to protect the vision of a free land? Are we too far gone along the path of self-indulgence to care about the future of the United States of America?

I remember 9/11 because it was the largest of many Islamofascist attacks against us while our government worried about 'profiling', 'racism', 'Zero tolerance', and a myriad of pointless issues better debated in the halls of academia than the halls of Congress and the White House. I remember, as do many other Americans, because I will not let my nation slide into irrelevance and chaos for the tender feelings of simple-minded politicians and victim groups. To them I say, "Suck it up, Pal! We're trying to be adults here, and you need to grow up and smell the coffee!"

I remember. I will not forget. What about you?

A hat tip to Camojack at "Uncommonly Sensible" for the Cal Thomas link!

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Also Remembering 9/11 are Camojack at Uncommonly Sensible; Angel at Woman Honor Thyself; AOW at Always On Watch; Nanc at It's Curtains for You ... ; Brooke at Neocon Command Center; Gayle at Dragon Lady's Den; The Anchoress; Shoprat at The Educated Shoprat; Patrick at Born Again Redneck, and many others. Check my Blog Roll near the bottom of the page and see what other bloggers had to say.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six Years Ago

My Tribute to one of those 2,996 Americans murdered by Islamofascists, on September 11, 2001, is here. Please visit and reflect on what the loss of even a single American, to terrorism, means.

GOD Bless America!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Fred Is Running! 'Bout time!

Video from Ian Schwartz. Transcript of the announcement here.

JAY LENO: I’ve got to ask you something. You were here in June. You said then you were testing the water. You’ve been in the water for a while now. Are you starting to get a little wrinkly? (Laughter.)

FRED THOMPSON: These wrinkles don’t come from the water. (Laughter.)

JAY LENO: They don’t come from the water. All right. What’s the temperature? Is it tepid? What does the water tell you.

FRED THOMPSON: Nice and warm.

JAY LENO: Nice and warm?

FRED THOMPSON: It hasn’t been that long really. We’ve done it a few months, where a lot of people have been working on it since they were in the choir in high school. So we’re where we need to be right now, and that’s one of the things I wanted to talk to you about. I’m running for President of the United States.

JAY LENO: All right. (Applause.)


Now compare this with the prattlings of Senator Chuck Schumer, as he speaks about the Troop Surge in Iraq. See the difference between am American Statesman and a party hack? Sad, isn't it? And Schumer says he "supports" the American Troops! Riiiight!

Thanks Sister Toldjah!

Big Luciano Passes Away

Luciano Pavarotti (October 12, 1935 – September 6, 2007)

Pavarotti in 'La Boheme' 1968Luciano Pavarotti, world-famous Operatic Tenor, died in his hometown of Modena in north-central Italy. He was 71, and had been battling pancreatic cancer.

Pavarotti died in the early morning of September 6, 2007 at home surrounded by his wife and four daughters. In an email statement, his manager wrote, "The Maestro fought a long, tough battle against the pancreatic cancer which eventually took his life. In fitting with the approach that characterized his life and work, he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness." In a text message to Reuters, Pavarotti's manager Terri Robson confirmed: "Luciano Pavarotti died one hour ago".

The rotund, black-bearded singer known as "Big Luciano" helped bring opera to the masses and performed to vast stadium audiences round the world.

Pavarotti was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July last year, forcing him to abandon a 40-concert farewell tour to undergo radiotherapy. He was sent to hospital for several weeks with a fever last month. His health deteriorated quickly after being released on August 25.

The Maestro"He remained optimistic and confident that he would overcome the disease and had been determined to return to the stage to complete his Worldwide Farewell Tour," Pavarotti's manager Terri Robson said in a statement.

For more information you can see the Maestro's official website

Here's a duet with the late Barry White. See? It ain't all about the opera.

From Wiki: Pavarotti annually hosted the "Pavarotti and Friends" charity concerts in his home town of Modena in Italy, joining with singers from all parts of the music industry to raise money for several worthy UN causes. Concerts were held for War Child, and victims of war and civil unrest in Bosnia, Guatemala, Kosovo and Iraq. After the war in Bosnia, he financed and established the Pavarotti Music Center in the southern city of Mostar to offer Bosnia's artists the opportunity to develop their skills. For these contributions, the city of Sarajevo named him an honorary citizen in 2006.

He performed at benefit concerts to raise money for victims of tragedies such as an earthquake in December 1988 that killed 25,000 people in northern Armenia.

He was a close friend of Diana, Princess of Wales. They raised money for the elimination of land mines worldwide. He was invited to sing at her funeral service, but declined, as he felt he could not sing well "with his grief in his throat".

In 1998, he was appointed the United Nation's Messenger of Peace, using his fame to raise awareness of UN issues, including the Millennium Development Goals, HIV/AIDS, child rights, urban slums and poverty.

In 2001, Pavarotti received the Nansen Medal from the UN High Commission for Refugees for his efforts raising money on behalf of refugees worldwide. Through benefit concerts and volunteer work, he has raised more than US$1.5 million, more than any other individual.

Other awards he received for charity work include the Freedom of London Award and The Red Cross Award for Services to Humanity, for his work in raising money for that organization, and the 1998 MusiCares Person Of The Year, given to humanitarian heroes by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


PinoFunny how you can find things on the Web when you aren't looking for them. A case in point is the artist known as "Pino". His name is Pino Dangelico, and he comes originally from Bari, Italy. Beginning his commercial career as the painter of book covers, he was able to move beyond that very lucrative profession to simply painting, as he wished. I really enjoy the art of Pino, and I think you might, too.

If you remember my post on Harry Anderson, you may recall that his style is called "Loose Realism". Harry Steine, in discussing the work of Harry Anderson, described the technique of Loose Realism, thus: Maternal Instincts
Harry paid close attention to the fundamental aspects of visual storytelling. Focused points of interest were rendered with more informational detail, crisp edges for definition, and sharp contrast of value and hue, lightest lights against the darkest darks, for example. And although the element of detail (as in an object that has been rendered exactly as it appears in life), seems realistically portrayed in Harry’s paintings, it is a looser more impressionistic representation. This is created with, among other things, very deft and confident brush strokes or, as Harry called it “painting dexterity.” It reads like detail, but is in fact not.

InnocenceWell, Pino pains in the style of Loose Realism, and it's a very nice technique, with wonderful results. Pino has this to say about Pino:
Born on the cusp of a defining world war in Europe [November, 1939], Pino Dangelico's childhood visual memories are those of women left behind to keep the home fires burning. His mother, aunts, grandmothers and cousins became a universe of attractive Italian women in aprons, maintaining domestic tranquility in very uncertain times. Bathed in the Adriatic light of his native Bari, these figures would later infuse the romantic canvases of Pino that speak so softly to the hearts of Europeans and Americans alike today.

Afternoon StrollGrowing up with the faded glories of Renaissance art and architecture at his doorstep Pino was in tune with the energies of a new era and, despite his phenomenal success as one of the leading European illustrators of all time, he wanted to be closer to the dynamic art center of the world, New York. He also wanted to release his art from the restrictions of others and be free to explore new avenues that had been opened by the abstract expressionists of the late 1940's and early 1950's. A visit to Manhattan in 1971 exposed Pino to the exciting synergy of the United States and the museums of New York opened his eyes to the rich history of figure painting in America. In 1978 he returned with his wife Chiara, seven-year- old daughter, Paola and five-year-old son, Massimo. Unable to escape his commercial success in Europe, Pino soon became the highest paid American illustrator with over 3,000 book covers, movie posters and magazine illustrations to his credit. More importantly, his unique style not only dominated the market; it also exerted a profound influence on other artists' work from 1980 to 1995.

Late ReadingEager to leave illustration behind and to begin stretching the envelope of fine art with his fresh figural concepts and brilliant brushwork, Pino began showing his canvases to galleries. In 1992 he contacted one of the major galleries in Scottsdale, Arizona, The May Gallery, and sent five paintings which were well received. Since then his paintings have appeared in Morris & Whiteside Gallery in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and Stuart Johnson's Settler's West Gallery in Tucson, Arizona. Pino has been invited to make several appearances on major TV networks and has been interviewed in national and international journals. With the immediate success among collectors, Pino began to distill over forty years of training and experience into each new painting. Combining all that he has learned from formal training and assimilated from observing the great masters, Pino has evolved a mature style that is both distinctive and deeply rooted in art history.

Now, maybe this isn't "high" art. Perhaps it is too accessible, too easy to understand and enjoy. Unlike the spatterings of Jackson Pollack, or the bizarre renderings of the celebrated Pablo Picasso, the works of such artists as Pino, or Harry Anderson, or Maxfield Parrish, among others, do what Art is supposed to do, as opposed to what the Art "Experts" and "Critics" want you to think Artists should do. It presents beauty, a story, a vision of something they see, for you to appreciate. No need, when looking at a Pino work, to ask, "What is it?" or check the label on the frame.

Whispering HeartBy the way, while wandering the Web, hunting for Pino prints, among others, to use here, I kept running into the word Giclée. I finally grasped that it's a technique for making prints. So I figured, why not search the word and make sure. From Wikipedia:
Giclée, commonly pronounced "zhee-clay," is an invented name for the process of making fine art prints from a digital source using ink-jet printing. The word “giclée”, from the French language word "gicleur" meaning "nozzle", was created by Jack Duganne, a print maker working in the field, to represent any inkjet based digital print used as fine art. The intent of that name was to distinguish commonly known industrial "Iris proofs" from the type of fine art prints artists were producing on those same types of printers. The name was originally applied to fine art prints created on Iris printers in a process invented in the early 1990s but has since come to mean any high quality ink-jet print.

And now you know!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I'm Your Huckleberry

"Tombstone", made in 1993, was one of the most enjoyable Westerns I can recall. Sadly, John Wayne was not in it, having passed away in 1979. But the cast of the 1993 film was impressive, nonetheless. Kurt Russell starred as Wyatt Earp, Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday. This is a classic Western tale with good guys and bad guys. Written by Kevin Jarre and directed by George P. Cosmatos, the story involves Wyatt Earp and his brothers moving to Tombstone, Arizona where they and Doc Holliday face off against a band of criminals called the Cowboys. The film is considered by many to be one of the most quotable films ever made.

"I'm your huckleberry" is a line uttered more than once by Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday.

But what makes this film most interesting is that the good guys, in this case the Earps and Doc Holliday, are all flawed characters. We discover much about them that keeps us interested, where the film allows us to see little of the bad guys' positive aspects (if any). "Tombstone" gives us a glimpse into friendship and loyalty, family ties and love, along with utter hatred and evil.

One of the classic moments of the film comes, not in the rendering of the famous 'Gunfight at the OK Corall, but in a final showdown between what are arguably two psychopaths: Doc Holliday, played by Val Kilmer, and Johnny Ringo, played by Michael Biehn. The scene is set when Wyatt (Kurt Russell) agrees to meet Ringo to fight it out. Wyatt has been tending a very sick Holliday, who has been bed-ridden with a bout of tuberculosis. Wyatt believes that Ringo will kill him in a gun-fight, that Ringo is simply too fast to beat. But he goes anyway, as duty demands. Holliday tells him he can't beat Johnny Ringo. But Earp heads out, determined to do his best, or die trying. Holliday, however, rises from his sickbed, and goes to meet Ringo, ahead of his friend Wyatt.

And that's what leads up to this classic scene. Psychopath versus Psychopath, Good versus Evil.

As for the "I'm your huckleberry," line, what does it mean? Well, despite a lot of speculation, it comes down to some easy research into word origins, as Lawson Stone shows.
On and off I hear discussions in which people speculate on the exact origin and meaning is of the quaint idiom used by Doc Holliday in the movie "Tombstone." I've heard some wild suggestions, including "huckleberry" meaning "pall-bearer" suggesting "I'll bury you."

Still others think it has something to do with Mark Twain's character, Huckleberry Finn, and means "steadfast friend, pard." This is unlikely, since the book of that title was not written until 1883. Tom Sawyer was written in 1876, but nowhere there is the term "huckleberry" used to mean "steadfast friend" or the like.

Still others claim that a victor's crown or wreath of huckleberry is involved, making the statement "I'm your huckleberry" something like "I'll beat you!" But no such reference can be found in the historical materials supporting the use of this term in 19th century America. Additionally, "huckleberry" was native to North America so it's unlikely it was used in ancient Britain as a prize!

[...] The second and more common usage came to mean, in the words of the "Dictionary of American Slang: Second Supplemented Edition" (Crowell, 1975):

"A man; specif., the exact kind of man needed for a particular purpose. 1936: "Well, I'm your huckleberry, Mr. Haney." Tully, "Bruiser," 37. Since 1880, archaic.

The "Historical Dictionary of American Slang" which is a multivolume work, has about a third of a column of citations documenting this meaning all through the latter 19th century.

So "I'm your huckleberry" means "I'm just the man you're looking for!"

Now ain't that a daisy!

The "Daisy" comment is easier. In the late 19th century "daisy" was a common slang term for "the best in it's class." So for "daisy" just substitute "the best" and you'll have it. It was a short-lived idiom and doesn't seem to be popular much after 1890.

Among the classic quotes from this film:
[Doc Holliday is drunkenly playing a somber piece on the saloon piano, and a drunken Cowboy is harassing him to play something by Stephen Foster]
Cowboy: Stephen Foster. "Oh, Susannah", "Camptown Races". Stephen stinking Foster.
Doc Holliday: Ah, yes. Well, this happens to be a nocturne.
Cowboy: A which?
Doc Holliday: You know, Frederic fucking Chopin.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Doc Holliday: I have not yet begun to defile myself.

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Wyatt Earp: What makes a man like Ringo, Doc?
Doc Holliday: A man like Ringo has got a great big hole, right in the middle of himself. And he can never steal enough, or kill enough, or cause enough pain to fill it up. And so he walks the earth, forever seeking retribution...
Wyatt Earp: For what?
Doc Holliday: Being born.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Wyatt Earp: You die first, get it? Your friends might get me in a rush, but not before I make your head into a canoe, you understand me?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Doc: In vino veritas.
Ringo: Age quod agis.
Doc: Credat Judaeus Apella, non ego.
Ringo: Iuventus stultorum magister.
Doc: In pace requiescat.

Doc: That's Latin, darlin'! It appears Mr. Ringo is an educated man. Now I really hate him!

Hard as it is to imagine, some of you may not have seen "Tombstone". Yes, it is a violent film, but it is a magnificent story-telling escapade. The acting is solid, the characterizations are intriguing, the film is a winner. If you have seen "Wyatt Earp" starring Kevin Costner, then you know a too-long film (and rather dull one) when you see it. "Tombstone" is the film to see.