Saturday, June 26, 2010

a future we were offered

Remember all those fascinating illustrations we used to see in books as kids?  I don't mean just the ones we saw in comic books, but in other legitimate grown up magazines of our youthful days.  I even remember these kind of  cool futuristic illustrations gracing some of our Science text books.  I kid you not.

We remember the space race and seeing the first man on the moon.  As a kid, we were fed the idea that we were all probably going to get a crack at getting a job constructing some huge domed space facility on Mars.  I know, the future is never what we make of it.  It's all wild hunches.  I must say, even though mankind has accomplished many incredible feats, I am a little disappointed.  I really liked all those futuristic illustrations that  now seem so camp and silly.  That was one nifty looking future we had fed to us.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Duke & The Scout Law

I ran across this awhile back and meant to share it earlier.  I didn't write it.  The text was from one of Wayne's last public appearances before he died of cancer.  He gave this speech while attending a dinner benefiting a land purchase for a Boy Scout Reservation called John Wayne Outpost Camp.

At this dinner, Wayne recited the Scout Law. Then he did something unusual. He said the twelve points of the Scout Law are "nice words". "Trouble is" he continued, "we learn them so young we sometimes don't get all the understanding that goes with them. I take care of that in my family. As each boy reaches Scout age, I make sure he learns the Scout Law. Then I break it down for him, with a few things I have picked up in more than half a century since I learned it."
I thought it odd that a Boy Scout site that I pulled a portion of John Wayne's speech from, there was a disclaimer of sorts.  It read, "This Minute is meant for Boy Scouts. Decide for yourself if it is appropriate for your younger scouts or not."  I ask you, what within the following words spoken might be deemed as 'inappropriate'?

Trustworthy: The badge of honesty. Having it lets you look any man in the eye. Lacking it he won't look back. Keep this one at the top of your list.

Loyal: The very word is life itself, for without loyalty we have no love of person or country.

Helpful: Part sharing, part caring. By helping each other, we help ourselves, not to mention mankind. Be always full of help:the dying man's last words.

Friendly: Brotherhood is part of that word. You can take it in a lot of directions - an go - but make sure and start with brotherhood.

Courteous: Allow each person his human dignity which means a lot more than saying, "yes ma'am" and "thank you sir". It reflects an attitude that later in life you wish you had honored more, earlier in life. Save yourself that problem. Do it now.

Kind: This one word would stop wars and erase hatreds. But it's like your bicycle, it just no good unless you get out and use it.

Obedient: Starts at home. Practice it with your family. Enlarge it in your friends. Share it with humanity.

Cheerful: Anyone can put on a happy face when the going is good. The secret is to wear it as a mask for your problems. It might surprise you how many others do the same thing.

Thrifty: Means a lot more than putting pennies away, and it is the opposite of cheap. Common sense covers it just about as well as anything.

Brave: You don't have to fight to be brave. Millions of good, fine, decent folks show more bravery than heavyweight champs just by getting out of bed every morning, going out to do a good day's work and living the best life they know how against the law of odds.

Clean: Soap and water help a lot on the outside. But it is the inside that counts and don't ever forget it.

Reverent: Believe in anything that you want to believe in, but keep God at the top of it. With Him, life can be a beautiful experience. Without Him, you are just biding time.

Monday, June 21, 2010

reach for it!

Remember roll cap guns?  I used to own a bunch of authentic looking roll cap guns.  When I was growing up the toy companies had already started making guns from plastic rather than metal.  I remember going on neighborhood recon patrol with a plastic Thompson.  I also carried one or two aluminum 45 caliber rollcap guns.  I used to have an arsenal of rollcap guns.  I never knew when I was going to need them, so I had one or two buried/hidden in ammo cans around the wooded areas of the neighborhood.  It's still not a bad idea.

The history of cap guns go back to the end of the Civil War.  Gun manufacturers found themselves without weapons contracts and decided to start manufacturing war toys.  Cap guns are still around today but definitely not what they used to be.  As a kid, half the fun of owning a cap gun was that it looked like the real thing.  I remember my brother having a German Luger cap gun.  I don't know where he got it, but it was so very cool. It was either made of a cast iron or aluminum.  I can't recall.
There were lots of cool looking cap guns in the 50's and 60's.  Those were the ones that I remember the most.  Kids were out shooting at each other with imaginary bullets from guns from their favorite television shows.  Heck, there were even cap guns that shot plastic bullets. The advantage to having a gun that shot plastic projectiles was during close combat.

Today cap guns are all plastic and bright fluorescent.  I know if I were a kid today, I'd be coating my plastic arsenal down with aerosol paint to make it look real!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Big Mouth in Vietnam

 The following text is pulled from Wikipedia.  Martha Raye was a real trooper. -df

In October 1966, she (actress Martha Raye) went to Soc Trang, Vietnam, to entertain the troops at the base which was the home base of the 121st Aviation company, the Soc Trang Tigers, the gunship platoon, The Vikings and the 336th Aviation company. Shortly after her arrival, both units were called out on a mission to extract supposed POWs from an area nearby. Raye decided to hold her troupe of entertainers there until the mission was completed so that all of the servicemen could watch her show.

During that time, a serviceman flying a "Huey Slick" helicopter carrying troops recalls that his ship received combat damage to the extent that he had to return to base at Soc Trang:

I was the pilot of that "slick" which had received major damage to the tail-rotor drive shaft from a lucky enemy rifle shot. The maintenance team at the staging area inspected and determined that a one-time flight back to base camp would be okay but grounded the aircraft after that. Upon arriving back at Soc Trang, I informed Martha (she came right up to us and asked how things were going) that we had a gunship down in the combat area and additional efforts were being made to extract the crew. I don't recall if we had received word of the death of the pilot at that time. Martha stated that she and her troupe would remain until everyone returned from the mission. As there were no replacements, the servicemen could not return to the mission. While the servicemen waited, Raye played poker with them and helped to keep everyone's spirits up. I enjoyed playing cards with Martha but regretted it somewhat. It appears that she had plenty of practice playing poker with GIs during her USO service in multiple wars. But I still love her for who she was and what she did. When the mission was completed, which had resulted in the loss of a helicopter, gunship and a Viking pilot, there was also an officer, the Major who was in command of the Vikings who had been wounded when the ship went down. He was flying pilot position but was not in control of the ship when the command pilot, a Warrant Officer, was shot. When he and the two remaining crewmen were returned to Soc Trang, Raye volunteered to assist the doctor in treating the wounded flyer. When all had been completed, Raye waited until everybody was available and then put on her show. Everyone involved appreciated her as an outstanding trouper and a caring person. During the Vietnam War, she was made an honorary Green Beret because she visited United States Army Special Forces in Vietnam without fanfare, and she helped out when things got bad in Special Forces A-Camps. As a result, she came to be known affectionately by the Green Berets as "Colonel Maggie."

Captain Midnight

Part One

Monday, June 14, 2010

make mine Marvel

I remember this club being available, but never signed up for it. I wasn't big into super heroes back in the day. My favorite Marvel comic book was Sgt. Fury & His Howling Commandos.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Three Stooges

The comedy shorts made back in the 1930's & 40's were given a new audience when television started airing them.  In January 1958, Columbia's television subsidiary Screen Gems, offered a package consisting of 78 Stooge shorts (mainly from the Curly era), which were well received. Almost immediately, an additional 40 shorts hit the market, and by 1959, all 190 Stooge shorts were airing regularly.  Even though the Three Stooges preceded our day,  they experienced a big comeback thanks to television and a very appreciative young baby-boom audience. We loved them.  I still love them.

Back in our day, cartoons were not the only thing showing on our black and white Zenith.  There was plenty of three stooge action being absorbed by young minds.  Curly was our favorite Stooge, but the eldest Howard brother Shemp didn't do such a bad job.  Though Moe always played the heavy,  Larry Fine once wrote of him, the Moe was the nicest and best of the Stooges.

There was a made for television movie made about them that I didn't see until recently.  I was happy to find that it is available to view on Hulu.  Click on the knuckleheads above if you'd like to watch it.

Moe, Larry, and director Jules White considered their best film to be 'You Nazty Spy!'  Moe played 'Moe Hailstone', an Hilter-like character, Curly played Herman Goering.  Larry played an ambassador.  The film was produced while America was still neutral toward the war, still isolationist.   'You Natzy Spy' was released in January of 1940, nine months before Chaplin's 'The Great Dictator'   The Stooge short was the first American film to spoof Hitler and Nazism.  The comedy short caused the Stooges to be placed on Hitler's  'death list' because of its anti-Nazi stance. Just goes to show that Nazi's can't take a joke.

The following is part one of 'You Nazty Spy!' at youtube.

Mr. Ixnay: We've come here to offer you the greatest opportunity of your life.
Moe: You mean you'll let us paper the living room?
Mr. Ixnay: No, no, no. You're through with papering. My partners and I are going to make you Dictator of Moronica.
Moe: Dictator? What does a Dictator do?
Mr. Ixnay: A Dictator? Why, he makes love to beautiful women, drinks champagne, enjoys life and never works. He makes speeches to the people promising them plenty, gives them nothing and takes everything.   That's a Dictator.
Curly: Hmph, a parasite. That's for me.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Reading the Truth

Back in the early seventies, Emory Boggs was passing around a copy of Truth (or The Truth) that was an free underground Jesus paper published in Spokane Washington by the Voice of Elijah Ministry.  Truth preceded the Cornerstone publication by Jesus People USA (JPUSA).  Cornerstone was a nicer publication, but Truth was my first encounter of it's kind.  Both were excellent newspapers for Jesus Freaks. I'm sure there were other like papers of that day, but we were not aware of them down in our neck of the woods.

At that time, most of the musicians that I was hanging around were singing what we called Jesus Music.  We had a coffeehouse called FREE House where we'd gather and sing our Jesus Music.  We were then naive to the fact that God was anointing people all over the place to interject rock and roll with the Gospel.  Heck, we thought we came up with Jesus Music, but it was divine inspiration.  It wasn't long before we realized that God was doing something on a global level - that there was a movement going on.

Truth was a publication that helped to make us aware of this phenomena. It was the first time I was made aware of the availability of Jesus Music on records.  There within the pages of Truth were the first time I'd ever read the names of Wilson McKinley Band, Larry Norman, Malcolm and Alwyn, and Love Song. I remember Emory sporting bumper stickers and buttons he had ordered from Truth.  I soon had subscribed and enjoyed getting my own copy of the paper.  I read it from cover to cover.

I kept my copies of Truth for a decade or two and I guess I discarded it along the way.  I am now sorry that I did.  I remember the last issue of Truth was an expose' on a cult out in California called The Children of God (COG).  The story was to be continued, but never was. All of a sudden, there was no more Truth.

A few years later someone walked in the coffeehouse door with a large stack of Cornerstones.  That Jesus Paper had a longer life and eventually evolved into a rather unique magazine. We distributed Cornerstone at the coffeehouse, but I sure missed getting Truth.