Saturday, July 27, 2013

curse of the south paw

I'm left handed. I remember when I was a kid trying to write in a three ring binder.  It wasn't easy.  I remember mom coming home one day with a notebook with a clasp at the top.  I went to school the next day and the teacher told me to take it home and not bring it back.  She said that I had to learn how to write using a three ring binder.  I could not take a page out of the notebook.  I had to write in the binder.  It didn't make any sense to me.  Ruled paper is ruled paper, only two holes were at the top of the page instead of three holes on the side.  It seemed important to the teacher that no accommodation should be made for my  left handedness.  I took the new notebook home that my mother gave me and did the best I could with the ring binder.

Throughout my time at R.A. Mitchell Elementary, I had to use the ring binder.  I don't know why they made me do that.  Was I being punished for not being right handed?  Was making me use the three ring binder supposed to force me to start writing with my right hand?  What did happen was that I learned to write sideways.  I would turn the binder ring side up, and did my assignments writing sideways, top down.

I remember kids throughout junior high and high school commenting on my odd skill.  It was a skill I had to learn because of being left handed in a right hand world.  Years ago my wife bought me a sketch book with the spiral wire on the side.  I used it by flipping it to it's side and drawing sideways.  I still get comments from time to time.

I don't have to deal with spiral binders and ring binders much.  I don't have an authority over me telling me what I can and can't use to write.  It's nice being an adult.

Friday, July 26, 2013


John Wayne had turned down the roll of Dirty Harry Callahan that ended up doing well for Clint Eastwood.  Dirty Harry (1971) did so well that Wayne tried to step into the same kind of roll of Dirty Harry with McQ (1974).  The movie was directed by John Sturges who also directed incredible film classics such as Gunfight at the OK Coral, The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape.  Unfortunately, McQ isn't one of Sturges at his best.  McQ is a Dirty Harry wanna be, and it just doesn't measure up.

I'm a John Wayne fan and so I've watched McQ handful of times. Lots of actions, lots of tough guy stuff, but the movie lacks in story.  There's no twist, no turns.  There's no depth to McQ.  When viewing the movie, you also get the idea that Sturges is also trying to capture the intensity of the movie Bullit (1968).  In fact, it's been written that McQ was originally intended for Steve McQueen...figures.  For whatever reason, it's a good thing that McQueen didn't take the roll, because of the movie's obvious flaws.  Who knows, maybe the movie would've been better if McQueen had taken it on, because the script was rewritten for The Duke.

John Wayne is John Wayne and I never quite understood why he wanted to play Eastwood or McQueen.  I guess at the time, tough cop movies where the money was.   If you're going to compete with such incredible movies like Dirty Harry or Bullit, at least offer a good script.  All the tough talk, fast cars, blazing guns and explosions in Hollywood can't compensate for a good script.

There are a few noteworthy elements of this movie.  McQ is the first movie to feature the MAC-10.  It was a really impressive gun to see for the first time.   This was the movie that generated the demand for it.

Another interesting detail about McQ is that it's the first movie to rollover a car without a ramp.  The tech guys came up with a way of welding a cannon (pointing down) behind the drivers seat of a car.  The cannon (16" diameter) was loaded with 3' long telephone pole.  The cannon when triggered did a incredible job of flipping cars.  The technique was dubbed 'The McQ Cannon' and has been used in countless films since.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Six Flags Over Me

1974 Six Flags Over Georgia Souvenir Map
The Daugette family were neighbors, they had a lot of kids too.  Billy Daugette and me were pretty close to the same age and we messed around a good bit as kids.  Billy and his older brother Rush shared the same upstairs bedroom.  They had the cool stuff, cool toys in their bedroom.

The Daugette walls were covered with paintings, portraits, and pictures.  The walls throughout their huge home were adorned with all kinds of images.  There were pictures on every wall.  Walk inside, head up the banister and there were pictures and pictures hung by more pictures with little wall to see between.  For some reason all those pictures made that house all the more a home. Going to the Daugette home was always an adventure for me.

One day a big picture caught my attention.  It was a huge poster of a fantastical place that seemed as if it were pulled from a fairy tale.  The poster hung was in Billy's bedroom.  I inspected it closely.  I became fascinated by it.  "What's this?" I asked.  Billy didn't look up or come over to see what I was asking about.  He just continued looking down, messing with whatever he was messing with.  "Six Flags", he replied nonchalantly.

"What is it?"  Where is it?  Is it really real? 
Have you been there?"

"Sure." he replied without looking up.  "We go there all the time."

"'s really real!"

It was a couple of years later that I eventually got to go.  My first Six Flags Over Georgia trip was with the Bellevue United Methodist Church youth group around 1971 or 72.  It was a miserably hot three hour bus ride from Gadsden,AL to Atlanta, GA (as the bus travels).  If you wanted air you had to drop down a window next to you.  I didn't mind the heat as much because I was finally getting to go to Six Flags!.

Being there felt other-worldly.  The first time there and I was disoriented for most of the day.  Everything was new to me and so I stuck with my pal Joey Pullen who had been there several times previously.  I let him navigate the terrain and recommend the best rides.  Waiting in line was agonizing.  The best rides were the longest waits.  We had several breaks in the day when it rained.  Joey pushed onward.  Some rides closed temporarily while other rides kept going.  Riding rides in the rain was a very memorable experience.  The day had been so hot and steamy that the rain felt so good.  Most folks stayed off the rides so Joey and I would run back to the beginning and hop on again and again.

I remember the bus ride back.  The ride back in the evening was cooler and much quieter. The ride home didn't seem to take near as long.  Everyone was wiped out.  We had departed from that strange other-worldly place and were traveling homeward down the dark highway.  I remember that trip well.

I guess I went to Six Flags about four times before I reached the age of twenty.  Much of the thrill had faded by then.  
It's been over three decades since I last went to Six Flags.  I went in 1980, but it ended up being a brief visit.  We left well before noon.

Gina, Katie and Kelsey went yesterday.  They all came home late and tired.  There was some excitement, but bed was more on their mind that retelling their day's adventure.  I had thought of them throughout the day.  I wondered if Katie and Kelsey had as much fun as I did my first time.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

christian brothers

i was missing something
i had once
genuine fellowship
once we were a band of brothers
taking on the road
taking on the world
i look back
not quite understanding
where it all faded
where the journey together ended
grew up
spread out
moved on
to other roads
to other avenues
other places
each our own individual walk
lives part and carry on
only remnants now
only warm memories
from when we walked side by side
praying together
fighting together
standing together
 of common heart
of common mind
of service
now apart
on our own roads
i look back
i see where those early days
with you all
helped me
taught me
raised me
to be the man
i am

Sunday, July 7, 2013

welcome the rain

outside amid the rain
beneath the tent
I watched the children play
beneath the gray skies
over the lush green grass
into the rain
through every puddle
i smiled and thought back
i smiled because it brought back
being young
running into the rain
we were children running
running toward the rain
beneath the gray skies
wet grass beneath our toes
toward every puddle
peering at them from a distance
children playing in the rain
i stepped out from beneath the canopy
welcomed the moment
welcome the rain

Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.
-Hosea 6:3

Thursday, July 4, 2013

unmasking the original

Return with us now to those thrilling
days of yesteryear!

Clayton Moore played The Lone Ranger on television from 1949-1951 and from 1954-1957. After being tapped for the role Moore trained his voice to sound like the radio voice of the Lone Ranger that had been airing since 1933.  Both Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels (Tonto) rode into television history and the Western crime fighting duo.

Portraying the Lone Ranger made him a superstar to baby-boomers everywhere.  Portraying the Lone Ranger made a lasting effect on the actor.  He often said that he had "fallen in love with the Lone Ranger character" and made an effort to live out his life staying true to the Lone Ranger code of honor and creed.

In 1981, the movie 'The Legend of the Lone Ranger' (1981) was released.  An older Clayton Moore was still making personal appearances as the Lone Ranger.  The Wrather Company, the company that legally owned the Lone Ranger character, forced Moore to remove his mask.  Film producer's Jack Wrather didn't want there to be any association between their new Lone Ranger and the original.   Such a shame.  Clayton Moore complied, but never gave up the saddle.  He put the mask aside and donned a pair of sunglasses as he fought against Wrather in court.

The Legend of the Lone Ranger /The Wrather Company got their just deserts in the end.  The movie bombed big time at the box office.  The good guy won in the end.  Clayton Moore, after the court battle wound down, road once again mask and all. Hi-Ho-Silver...AWAY!

A new Lone Ranger movie has just been released. I haven't seen it yet, but I know that no one will ever recapture the magic of the Lone Ranger and Tonto played by Moore and Silverheels.  Clayton Moore passed away in 1999.  He will always be THE Lone Ranger for us baby-boomers.  Sorry Johnny, but Jay Silverheels will always be Tonto.  The Lone Ranger and Tonto were bigger than life in those days.  Maybe it was because we were so young, or maybe it was because those old actors gave us more than a good show.  Like I mentioned in a previous post, wearing the white hat meant something in those days.  Clayton Moore was a fellow who not only wore the white hat on the film, but wore it in real life to boot.  The same goes for Silverheels, Jay also walked the walk.  There's a definite difference between the role models of yesterday and the role models of today.