Thursday, August 29, 2013

Anna Leonowens and Maha Mongkut

[This classic T N McCoy blog was originally published March, 2005]

Released by Fox in 1999, Jodie Foster’s movie Anna and the King is a re-telling of the teaching-adventure story of Anna Leonowens. The story, by now a familiar one, is about a 19th century English woman traveling to Siam to teach the monarch’s children.

The storyline is based on the 1946 movie Anna and the King of Siam, starring Irene Dunne and Rex Harrison (where Anna was presented as Anna L. Owens,) and 1956 movie musical, The King of I, starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner. The latter was based on the successful 1951 Broadway musical of the same name.

The Broadway Musical was based on the 1946 movie, Anna and the King of Siam, which in turn was based on the book ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM (1944) by Margaret Landon, who wrote it as a modern update of Mrs. Leonowens’ full story from the 19th century.  [As an interesting sidenote, Mrs. Leonowens was the maternal aunt of Boris Karloff.]

The basis for Miss Langdon’s work was published in 1870: THE ENGLISH GOVERNESS AT THE SIAMESE COURT And in 1872: THE ROMANCE OF THE HAREM. Both were written by Anna H. Leonowens. The illustrations were based on photographs given to Mrs. Leonowens by the King of Siam, His Majesty Somdetch P’hra Paramendr Maha Mongkut---imagine having to say that ten or twelve times a day.

Yes, a bit confusing. Well, just think of the story in chronological order: in 1862, Mrs. Anna Crawford Leonowens (1834-1914) was hired to teach the King’s children in Siam; then her book THE ENGLISH GOVERNESS…” (1870); her book THE ROMANCE OF THE HAREM (1872); Margaret Langdon’s book ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM (1944); the movie Anna and the King of Siam (1946); the Broadway play The King and I (1951); the movie, The King and I (1956); and now the movie Anna and the King (1999.)

Going back again, Mrs. Leonowens (who had already decided to accept) was officially invited by a letter from the King, February 26, 1862:

“Madam: We are in good pleasure, and satisfaction in heart, that you are in willingness to undertake the education of our beloved royal children. And we hope that in doing your education on us and on our children (whom English call inhabitants of benighted land) you will do your best endeavor for knowledge of English language, science, and literature, and for conversion to Christianity; as the followers of Buddha are mostly aware of the powerfulness of truth and virtue, as well as the followers of Christ, and are desirous to have facility of English language and literature, more than new religions.
“We beg to invite you to our royal palace to do your best endeavorment upon us and our children. We shall expect to see you here on return of Siamese steamer Chow Phya.
“We have written to Mr. William Adamson, and to our consul at Singapore, to authorize to do best arrangement for you and ourselves.
“Believe me
“Your faithfully,
(Signed) “S.S.P.P. Maha Mongkut”

Somehow, my mind hears these words in the voice and style of Yul Brynner. Indeed, it is a puzzlement.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Diametrically Opposed??

A short while ago, an old and dear friend of mine offered the opinion that he and I are 'politically diametrically opposed?'  He's a liberal/democrat, and I'm a Conservative/Republican.

My friend as you know, words have meanings.  'Diametrically opposed' indicates we are at extreme ends away from each other.  You can refer to yourself however you want, but please don't refer to me as extreme.  I am not---though I know that liberals/democrats usually refer to people who disagree with them as 'extreme' and 'dangerous.'

Case in point:  I don't support abortion in any way.  I don't believe people---good or not---can just up and slap God's face [putting another thorn in His crown] in their support of baby murder.  After all, that's what it is.  And it's especially barbaric when it's done near the end of a pregnancy or in partial live-birth.  A doctor or abortionist and a woman have no right to play God and determine life and death for an innocent baby---whatever the reason.  It particularly irks me when I see the liberals/democrats in Facebook post remarks that they depend on God in good and bad times---but they slap Him in the face when they abort their babies for personal or political reasons or vocally support those who do---using their wimpy and spurious revelation of 'a woman's right to choose' [aka murder.]

BTW ---> [Impressive pro-abortion activity, n'est pas?]

What if you and your wife had decided parenthood was too much for you lo those many years ago and aborted your two children?  They and their successes wouldn't exist.  Would that have improved your life?  Would you not have had pain for these many years for not knowing who they might have been or shared love with them? 

So, does that mean that you support 'marriage' between two perverts or murder and death of innocent babies---both slaps in the face of God?  Or that abortion is wrong for you but okay for others?  Or are we not diametrically opposed after all? 

Please read the next link which shows the summary of the Pope's first Encyclical.

I support the Constitution of the United States.  I don't stomp on it for political gain.  I believe in free speech; the right to bear arms; the concept that 'Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted [especially against the kids you read about every day in relation to the gun hysteria]; and the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.  And not to obama.

I believe and agree with the abolition of slavery and in the suffrage of women, and the restriction to two terms for the President.  But, I must confess to disagreeing with the age 18 right to vote.  It's too young, especially in light of the poor education provided by public school and the liberal slant on all teaching.  [You can't be 'free' or 'responsible' if you're brainwashed.]  And so many people between 18-21 have proven me right.  Our 18 and the modern 18 are years apart.  Most importantly, I believe in God, and I have faith in the majority of the American citizens to wade through liberal/democrat crapola and returning to the course originally set by the Founding Fathers.  We cannot exist or move forward in Civilization as we are constituted now.  The current and recent politicians and political parties no longer represent Americans.  They should be replaced, and Education returned to the home and local areas to insure we teach our youngsters instead of just spending $billions and moving them along.

So, are you opposed to all this?  Your friend obama and his cohorts are opposed to most of what I believe in.  They stomp on rights every day.  With the present administration, our economy is gone, our healthcare system is in the process of being destroyed, incompetence in the Administration [top to bottom] is daily more and more apparent, public debt is sky high, spending is sky high, spying on citizens runs rampant, the IRS is used to help squash Conservatives at every opportunity and Senate democrats are loading pork expenditures on every bill in sight---including the anti-American amnesty bill.

And now obama, unconstitutionally delays implementation of a particularly heinous provision of obamacare [the American healthcare system and economy destroyer] so that it doesn't take effect and destroy too many companies and thousands of more jobs before the 2014 elections.  Afterwards is okay by him.

And you support this administration?  We're diametrically opposed, remember.  You don't mind arresting little kids for having a Lego gun [about an inch long] or a pastry that appears to be the shape of a gun?  Or others for wearing t-shirts or mentioning God or displaying a cross symbol?  You think expulsion or jail for these kids is the right thing to do?  It's not the Conservatives doing these things.

Many hundreds of thousands of men and women died to create and preserve this country called America.  Their willingness to give their blood for our future can't be denied.  Abortion, stomping on the Constitution, crooked politicians, uneducated and unaware voters ['I'm voting for obama; he gave me a free cell phone; I'm voting for the free things'<---actual voters---="">or "I'm voting for obama because he's black], faulty foreign policy, communism, outrageous spending, bloated government lying, corrupt politicians at all levels, voting more than once, dead people voting, spying on our citizens---these are not what our fathers and grandfathers gave their lives for.

Do you think that granting asylum to a family that just wants to home school their kids is wrong as well?  Germany believes that only government-run schools are permissible for children.  Holder and obama [and Hitler and Stalin] believe[d] the same thing [public school education: teens can't speak or read; schoolchildren don't know anything about their representation or government in any way; can't learn about or see a picture of God or the Commandments or anything on morality; sex between students and teachers has often led to pregnancy; rampant gangs and racism; the students and teachers spend time patting each other on the back; Ayres and Alinsky 101], and obama opposes the asylum for parents who want to control their kids' education.  The DOJ advocates treating home schoolers and truants in the same criminal way.

Too many random interviews of the products of our public schools show profound ignorance of our Country and its history.  We declared Independence from China!  Mexico!  The date? November 2; 1842; 1978; 1974; 1874; 1914.  Signers include Jack Lemmon and Jesse Ventura.  Why do we celebrate July 4?  Blank stares; independence from China or Mexico, et al?  But such educational results are more important for 'diversity' than having kids actually learning something at home.  Really?

But asylum for the invasion of lawbreakers from the south?---you know, the people who sneak in our Country to collect welfare and laze about without learning English or obeying laws---is supported with no question by our President---mostly for the democrat voters he expects from among them.

You have different beliefs about these situations?  Please explain with details.

What about the IRS disaster?  Or the NSA?  You still believe obama knew nothing and there was no 'policy' of intimidation?  Is he like Sgt Schultz?  And Benghazi, and the travesty in Egyptian policy?  You actually believe obama, Hillary and Kerry and Holder and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and Sebelius and Big Sis and Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the numerous other liars and socialists in Washington now?  In fact, IRS Lois Lerner [with her big ego and arrogance] is ready to name names---if she's given immunity.  And those saps in the House will probably give it to her instead of throwing her butt in jail.  I'm not a big fan of deals like this.  Especially in this case, the case of the most corrupt, lying, anti-American, socialist spendthrift, tyrannical, Constitution-stomping Presidential Administration we've ever suffered under.  The proof is all around you.

But, if we're diametrically opposed, then none of this is true.  I must be making it all up because the economy is booming, unemployment is low, public debt is decreasing, personal freedom has never been stronger, and I don't like our savior, obama?

C'mon my friend.  I don't think you've reached the level of a Doctorate by knowingly soaking up all this crapola from obama and the democrats---all while obama hides his past and lies about what has been uncovered.  I have two WH released pictures [below] of obama or obama and family that have been obviously photo-shopped for his advantage---just like his supposed birth certificate.  One was on his FB website.  When the photo-shopping was discovered and aired, the photo was removed from his page.

So, please, tell me what you do believe in about the above?  How does demonstrable truth make me an extremist?  And, in light of recent liberal/democrat excesses and crime, how is it you're still a liberal/democrat 

[I have two photos of obama and obama and family obviously photo-shopped for the White House benefit.  But, Blogger won't let me post the pictures.  Why?  I don't know.]

1] obama's mother, Stanley, showing her black hand and wrist around her son.  Speculation is that the picture actually showed Frank Marshall, the communist-obama mentor, who was removed and replaced by a picture of Stanley.  Yet another great White House photo-shop.

2] The obamas exiting Air Force One showing Michelle's three hands.  Thanks White House for protecting the President---who probably isn't getting along with Michelle.  Another great White House photo-shop.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Mary White 1904-21

This 1921 essay/obituary of Mary White, written by her father, was required reading when I was in school.  It wasn't only for the grammar and writing style, but for the topic as well.  It was a unique look at the life of a young girl so many years ago.  I'm glad I had the chance to read it, and I want to offer that opportunity to my readers as well.

Mary White
June 18, 1904 - May 17, 1921

by William Allen White
Emporia Gazette, Kansas, May 17, 1921
The Associated Press reports carrying the news of Mary White's death declared that it came as the result of a fall from a horse. How she would have hooted at that! She never fell from a horse in her life. Horses have fallen on her and with her—"I'm always trying to hold 'em in my lap," she used to say. But she was proud of few things, and one of them was that she could ride anything that had four legs and hair. Her death resulted not from a fall but from a blow on the head which fractured her skull, and the blow came from the limb of an overhanging tree on the parking.

The last hour of her life was typical of its happiness. She came home from a day's work at school, topped off by a hard grind with the copy on the High School Annual, and felt that a ride would refresh her. She climbed into her khakis, chattering to her mother about the work she was doing, and hurried to get her horse and be out on the dirt roads for the country air and the radiant green fields of spring. As she rode through the town on an easy gallop, she kept waving at passers-by. She knew everyone in town. For a decade the little figure in the long pigtail and the red hair ribbon has been familiar on the streets of Emporia, and she got in the way of speaking to those who nodded at her. She passed the Kerrs, walking the horse in front of the Normal Library, and waved at them; passed another friend a few hundred feet farther on, and waved at her.

The horse was walking, and as she turned into North Merchant Street she took off her cowboy hat, and the horse swung into a lope. She passed the Tripletts and waved her cowboy hat at them, still moving gayly north on Merchant Street. A Gazette carrier passed—a High School boy friend—and she waved at him, but with her bridle hand; the horse veered quickly, plunged into the parking where the low-hanging limb faced her and, while she still looked back waving, the blow came. But she did not fall from the horse; she slipped off, dazed a bit, staggered, and fell in a faint. She never quite recovered consciousness.

But she did not fall from the horse, neither was she riding fast. A year or so ago she used to go like the wind. But that habit was broken, and she used the horse to get into the open, to get fresh, hard exercise, and to work off a certain surplus energy that welled up in her and needed a physical outlet. The need has been in her heart for years. It was back of the impulse that kept the dauntless little brown-clad figure on the streets and country roads of the community and built into a strong, muscular body what had been a frail and sickly frame during the first years of her life. But the riding gave her more than a body. It released a gay and hardy soul. She was the happiest thing in the world. And she was happy because she was enlarging her horizon. She came to know all sorts and conditions of men; Charley O'Brien, the traffic cop, was one of her best friends. W. L. Holtz, the Latin teacher, was another. Tom O'Connor, farmer-politician, and the Rev. J. H. Rice, preacher and police judge, and Frank Beach, music master, were her special friends; and all the girls, black and white, above the track and below the track, in Pepville and Stringtown, were among her acquaintances. And she brought home riotous stories of her adventures. She loved to rollick; persiflage was her natural expression at home. Her humor was a continual bubble of joy. She seemed to think in hyperbole and metaphor. She was mischievous without malice, as full of faults as an old shoe. No angel was Mary White, but an easy girl to live with for she never nursed a grouch five minutes in her life.

With all her eagerness for the out-of-doors, she loved books. On her table when she left her room were a book by Conrad, one by Galsworthy, "Creative Chemistry" by E. E. Slosson, and a Kipling book. She read Mark Twain, Dickens, and Kipling before she was ten—all of their writings. Wells and Arnold Bennett particularly amused and diverted her. She was entered as a student in Wellesley for 1922; was assistant editor of the High School Annual this year, and in line for election to the editorship next year. She was a member of the executive committee of the High School Y.W.C.A.

Within the last two years she had begun to be moved by an ambition to draw. She began as most children do by scribbling in her school books, funny pictures. She bought cartoon magazines and took a course—rather casually, naturally, for she was, after all, a child with no strong purposes—and this year she tasted the first fruits of success by having her pictures accepted by the High School Annual. But the thrill of delight she got when Mr. Ecord, of the Normal Annual, asked her to do the cartooning for that book this spring, was too beautiful for words. She fell to her work with all her enthusiastic heart. Her drawings were accepted, and her pride--always repressed by a lively sense of the ridiculous figure she was cutting--was a really gorgeous thing to see. No successful artist every drank a deeper draft of satisfaction than she took from the little fame her work was getting among her schoolfellows. In her glory, she almost forgot her horse—but never her car.

For she used the car as a jitney bus. It was her social life. She never had a "party" in all her nearly seventeen years—wouldn't have one; but she never drove a block in her life that she didn't begin to fill the car with pick-ups! Everybody rode with Mary White—white and black, old and young, rich and poor, men and women. She like nothing better than to fill the car with long- legged High School boys and an occasional girl, and parade the town. She never had a "date," nor went to a dance, except once with her brother Bill, and the "boy proposition" didn't interest her—yet. But young people—great spring-breaking, varnish-cracking, fender-bending, door-sagging carloads of "kids"—gave her great pleasure. Her zests were keen. But the most fun she ever had in her life was acting as chairman of the committee that got up the big turkey dinner for the poor folks at the county home; scores of pies, gallons of slaw, jam, cakes, preserves, oranges, and a wilderness of turkey were loaded into the car and taken to the county home. And, being of a practical turn of mind, she risked her own Christmas dinner to see that the poor folks actually got it all. Not that she was a cynic; she just disliked to tempt folks. While there, she found a blind colored uncle, very old, who could do nothing but make rag rugs, and she rustled up from her school friends rags enough to keep him busy for a season. The last engagement she tried to make was to take the guests at the county home out for a car ride. And the last endeavor of her life was to try to get a rest room for colored girls in the High School. She found one girl reading in the toilet, because there was no better place for a colored girl to loaf, and it inflamed her sense of injustice and she became a nagging harpy to those who she thought could remedy the evil. The poor she always had with her and was glad of it. She hungered and thirsted for righteousness; and was the most impious creature in the world. She joined the church without consulting her parents, not particularly for her soul's good. She never had a thrill of piety in her life, and would have hooted at a "testimony." But even as a little child, she felt the church was an agency for helping people to more of life's abundance, and she wanted to help. She never wanted help for herself. Clothes meant little to her. It was a fight to get a new rig on her; but eventually a harder fight to get it off. She never wore a jewel and had no ring but her High School class ring and never asked for anything but a wrist watch. She refused to have her hair up, though she was nearly seventeen. "Mother," she protested," you don't know how much I get by with, in my braided pigtails, that I could not with my hair up." Above every other passion of her life was her passion not to grow up, to be a child. The tomboy in her, which was big, seemed loath to be put away forever in skirts. She was a Peter Pan who refused to grow up.

Her funeral yesterday at the Congregational Church was as she would have wished it; no singing, no flowers except the big bunch of red roses from her brother Bill's Harvard classmen—heavens, how proud that would have made her!—and the red roses from the Gazette forces, in vases, at her head and feet. A short prayer: Paul's beautiful essay on "Love" from the Thirteenth Chapter of First Corinthians; some remarks about her democratic spirit by her friend, John H. J. Rice, pastor and police judge, which she would have deprecated if she could; a prayer sent down for her by her friend Carl Nau; and, opening the service, the slow, poignant movement from Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, which she loved; and closing the service a cutting from the joyously melancholy first movement of Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony, which she liked to hear, in certain moods, on the phonograph, then the Lord's Prayer by her friends in High School.

That was all.

For her pallbearers only her friends were chosen: her Latin teacher, W. L. Holtz; her High School principal, Rice Brown; her doctor, Frank Foncannon; her friend, W. W. Finney; her pal at the Gazette office, Walter Hughes; and her brother Bill. It would have made her smile to know that her friend, Charley O'Brien, the traffic cop had been transferred from Sixth and Commercial to the corner near the church to direct her friends who came to bid her good-by.

A rift in the clouds in a gray day threw a shaft of sunlight upon her coffin as her nervous, energetic little body sank to its last sleep. But the soul of her, the glowing, gorgeous, fervent soul of her, surely was flaming in eager joy upon some other dawn.

NB Folks, I tried to post a photo, but the system won't let me.  Just put her name in a Google search and you'll find her.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Danny Explains Him to Us

I received an email from my cousin that included this.  I don't know who wrote it ,or if assigning the authorship to an 8-year old is accurate.  But I think it's a good idea to repeat it here.  If only our Liberal friends had such an understanding, we'd have less strife in our lives.  Enjoy and Think!

It was written by an 8-year-old named Danny Dutton, who lives in Chula Vista, CA. He wrote it for his third grade homework assignment, to 'explain God.' I wonder if any of us could have done as well?
(And he had such an assignment, in California, and someone published it...
I guess miracles do happen!)

EXPLANATION OF GOD: 'One of God's main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn't make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn't have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.'

'God's second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn't have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.'

'God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn't go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad's head asking for something they said you couldn't have.'

'Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista . At least there aren't any who come to our church.'

'Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him. But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.'

'His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn't have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.'

'You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.'

'You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there's anybody you want to make happy, it's God!

Don't skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn't come out at the beach until noon anyway.'

'If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can't go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He's around you when you're scared, in the dark or when you can't swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.'

' shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases.
And...that's why I believe in God.'

(If you believe in God, please pass this on, and may God bless you too.)
Have an awesome day, and know that someone has thought about you!

Monday, March 25, 2013

NCAA Can Dare to Be Great!

In watching the NCAA basketball tournament games on Television, I'm confused and disconcerted about a couple of things. 

The leftist teaching in many of our schools bends over backwards to skew the truth in forcing 'fairness.'  They do this by helping only specific 'minorities' to a what is thought to be an equal level with the successful [but it's only temporary until they fall back to their own levels.  The best way to treat a minority is the same as the majority: no more, no less.] as the only ways for making good citizens.  Well, their confused and biased teaching doesn't help anyone in particular except those with their hands out.  And even then, only for a short time.  But apparently, this type of confusion is a bit different with NCAA sports.

I've watched unnecessary and uninteresting blowout games with the condescending announcers insulting the smaller teams.  The Connecticut women blew out their opponent by 68 points!  Baylor won by 42; Purdue by 34; Notre Dame by 33; and Penn State by 30.  In the men's brackets, Louisville won by 31, Ohio State by 25, VCU by 42, Florida by 32, and Syracuse by 47, Michigan by 25 over VCU which had won by 42.  These aren't basketball games, these are western duels with a six-gun against a pea shooter.  And the winners don't impress me as much as then could when they get assigned sweetheart games.

The NCAA must make the necessary changes to create more parity and more opportunity.  Expanding the brackets, especially with play-in games [and stop calling the first round the second round; we viewers all know you're full of it], won't solve the problem.  Getting down to Earth about who plays whom to determine the Best IS a solution.

So change the brackets to reflect more parity through the early rounds.  If you're destined to win it all, you shouldn't fear playing against anyone early.  And you must play your best in all games because one slip sends you packing.  Remember, this is a win-or-out tournament.

My suggestions will make for more evenly matched games among the teams playing through the first and second rounds.  That gives EVERY team a chance to win one or two games, pleasing their fans, and making Television viewing more interesting.  And the announcers can stop siding with the higher ranked team---something done on a regular basis.  In many cases they insult the efforts of the lower ranked teams and their programs.  Many of these lower ranks are drawing from a student population of 2000-5000, and not 30,000-50,000 like some of the big name colleges and universities---mostly government supported.  And those number differentials add up to a big recruiting and alumni difference---though there are more smaller colleges with alumni more spread out around the Country.

Washington's Obama hates the rich and successful, and he wants to tax, tax, tax them and reduce their footprints no matter what it does to the success and security of out Country.  But, he supports the NCAA and the unfair practices in the annual Basketball Tournament.  He even uses 'filling-out-the-brackets' as an excuse to not do his job.

The first suggestion is to stop stuffing the ballot box by playing a major team near it's hometown and making the smaller colleges travel farther than their following can reasonably go.  Support is good, but overwhelming support for major teams is an unfair practice.  And you Liberals, Socialists, and Communists out there should understand it.  One of the announcers even said that the NCAA was 'in parity.'  What World does he live in?  In the second round, Ohio State met Iowa State in Dayton Ohio.  The local support for Ohio State was unfair and so loud as to make the Iowa team deaf.  I'm all for home support, but the NCAA has stacked the odds for the bigger name schools.  In that game, there were plenty of Iowa State supporters, but Ohio State was still overwhelmingly favored by the home court advantage.

Number two is to teach announcers their jobs anew; and this time include English Grammar.  They aren't hired to be cheering sections for their favorite teams---or are they?.  They should announce fairly and give the information necessary to know and understand the game and both teams on the court.  I'm not interested in the kid spending most of his life in a mascot uniform or a plethora of mothers or ex-NCAA players or interrupting the game with continual updates---when you have the score bar at the top of the screen.  Stick to the game and the players---on both sides, and make the calling of it interesting.  And the announcers should stop interviewing coaches and players until they say something that isn't hackneyed, nonsensical, or shows their lack of a grasp of English.

Thirdly, change the brackets.  Currently, the NCAA has matches of: 1-16; 2-15; 3-14; 5-12; 6-11; 7-10; and 8-9, the latter generally being the only real competitive game in the group.  I suggest: 1-8; 2-7; 3-6; 4-5; 9-13; 11-16; 12-15; 10-14.  This bracketing provides more competitive games all through the brackets and rounds [there are only four Mr Announcer] and a fairer chance for the smaller schools.  As it is now, too many games are like a 6' 10" center playing one-on-one with me, at 5'5".  Let me play against shorter guys first.  If you're going to 'have to' the smaller, weaker teams in the Tournament, let them play each other first.  Give them a taste of victory in the first round before they're eliminated.  And make sure the Women's games and those from the NIT listen to same criticism and suggestions.

Instead of the second round, Louisville would meet Colorado State in the first.  Duke would meet Creighton.  Kansas would meet North Carolina.  Indiana would meet North Carolina State.  Gonzaga would meet Pittsburgh.  Miami would meet Illinois.  Ohio State would meet Notre Dame.

The smaller schools would have a better chance in the first round by playing closer teams.  The second and third round will winnow out the weaker teams.

Thus, Belmont would play Iona.  Ole Miss would play Southern.  California would play James Madison.  Akron would play Western Kentucky.  Minnesota would play Florida Gulf State.  Bucknell would play Pacific.  And Oregon would play North Carolina A & T.

And these major teams shouldn't worry about being upset.  If you can't beat every comer, then they can't make a believable Champion.  The advertisers should love these more competitive games, and the networks should love the ad revenue.  And the fans would champion the games as well.  After all, there are more small colleges that major ones.

In the Honesty-is-the-Best-Policy corner, I acknowledge that I am an Iona graduate.  But, even if the Gaels had beaten Ohio State [a minor miracle], I'd have the same thoughts about the fairness of the brackets and calling of the games.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bond, Vladimir Bond

* Does anyone but me think Daniel Craig looks like Vladimir Putin?

He's not a good choice for 007 at all.

* I can't use Cialis.  I won't dance around at the beach, walk in the rain, sit in bathtubs on the beach, or watch my wife dance on one foot in the kitchen.  Besides, the name reminds me of my childhood and my friend Alice.......

* A while ago I wrote a piece about Progressive Insurance Company, and how it and it's CEO, Peter Lamb, are die-hard Liberal proponents.  Lamb is good friend of George Soros's and  his type of  Liberalism.



US Debt Clock:


This is an estimate of the National Debt as of 3/20/13.  The clock is constantly in motion and updating the figures.

Also includes: Fed spending; fed budget deficit; fed tax revenue; state revenue; state spending; state debt; Interest; monetary base; us population; official unemployed; actual unemployed; us workforce; fed employees; state employees; unfunded us liabilities; etc.

US Gross Domestic Product for the same date and time:


And Obama this very week said we have no debt crisis!  Very frightening display of anti-Americanism and stupidity!

* These insurance companies advertising policies for funeral expenses continue to put out the myth of Government benefits.  Social Security only pays a benefit of $255 to a widow with children under 18.  If you're a growing-older codger like me with grown children, there's nothing to receive. Even so, I still recommend an insurance policy to cover related death expenses.  Just understand going in that answering those three or four health questions truthfully can easily make you ineligible for the insurance except at very high rates.  And lying in the answer can invalidate the policy---and don't you think the insurance company won't do just that!

* [Late 1950s or early 1960s] Does anyone out there remember turning on WALL [local radio station] and hearing the story of 'Rindercella,' the pransome hince, the micked wepstother, two sisty step uglers, and the gary modfother?  And a few years later, we were treated by Archie Campbell [Hee Haw] to the 'Christ Before Nightmas' and the 'Pee Little Thrigs?'  I think Rindercella's fame and popularity lasted a month or so.  Yet, I still remember that day, what the kitchen looked like, and where I was standing.  I can't remember things like that today in my own apartment a few days ago!

* There's a product called 'No No' being advertised on television.  It's supposed to remove unwanted face and body hair and keep it away.  All the excess of words are there to convince you it'll work and solve all your problems---effortlessly and completely.   BUT!  And this is my big 'but.'  What about those with true 'hair problems' and not the vain and fashion conscious among us?  Will 'No No' help those poor souls suffering from hypertrichosis or hirsutism?  These poor souls go about their lives with dark hair all over their bodies to varying degrees.  Does 'No No' meet the expectations of 'diathermy' or 'thermolysis?'  Combined with weekly shaving, can 'No No' treat these conditions with some expectation of social acceptance for removing body hair?  That's an important application that the 'No No' advertising and website do not address.  I think the people affected with hypertrichosis or hirsutism deserve to know whether or not 'No No' is going to free them from their condition---even if it isn't permanent.

* Most of us don't realize that our public officials are required to take an oath of office.  Shown below are the major ones.  Makes you wonder why the President, Senators, Representatives, and administration employees aren't being automatically ousted for their un-Constitutional activities.

President's Oath:

    “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Vice President's and U S Senator and Representative and other U S Officials Oath:
    I, +++++, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

U S Supreme Court Justice and other Federal Judges:

    "I, +++++ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as +++++ under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God."

U S Military Officer:

    I, +++++ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

U S Military Enlisted:

    "I, +++++ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

Can you remember the last time one of the above really supported the U S Constitution against all attacks---and wasn't punished by the President and his lackeys?

* I'm continuing with my research on a very interesting subject that will provide fodder for many different posts---though not consecutively.  I apologize for being so late with my blogs.  I get immersed in my research sometimes and sense nothing else.  And now with March Madness in my blood-----well.  I'll try to do better.  Thanks friends.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

In Which I Eulogize My Brother

"Death is the golden key that opens the palace of eternity.”  – John Milton

Christmas Eve 2012. 

Ed Turi, 73, was found in his apartment that morning and pronounced dead at 11:45 am.  He was found by his friend Scott.  The Death Certificate states he died of cardio-pulmonary arrest, congestive heart failure, and long term coronary artery disease.  The doctor thinks he died quickly enough to feel little or no pain.  These problems were far more extensive than he let on to me previously.  I also think he died because of extreme stress and a sense of giving up.  His problems caught up with him, and he couldn't handle them.

I'm writing this as his brother and executor.  We lived many miles apart and rarely saw each other---but we did spend time on the telephone.

When Ed spoke to me of his health difficulties, he implied they were of relatively minor importance---despite the pain and breathing difficulties he told me he suffered.  That was like him.  Ed was very private and kept much to himself.  Too much it seems.  I think, to a certain extent, Ed was embarrassed by his ill health and other problems, and he didn’t want to talk about them.

He apologized to me as a brother and as a Turi for his legal difficulties last year.

I have many good memories of Ed.  And I'd rather dwell on them than any of his problems.  In the 1950s, Ed used to take us siblings to the Orange County Fair during an afternoon when kids were admitted free.  Ed would keep us occupied until after five when Dad and Mom would arrive and we’d have dinner at one of the Italian food tents and visit the exhibits and ride the rides.

Dad, who was a member of a local baseball team in the 1930s [the Hubbies], taught baseball to Ed.  Ed taught me.  And he taught me our sibling mainstay: flies and grounders.  [One hitter and two fielders; first fielder to get three flies or five grounders changed places with the hitter.]  We three boys played that on the St Joseph’s field---which was across the street---night after night, even to the darkness.  Ed was a Yankee fan, but I forgave him and played ball anyway.

Complicating matters were the baseballs.  Having little money to spend on such things, we made them last---wrapping the damaged and unraveling hulks with Dad’s sticky black, double-sided tape from his tool box.  So, you can imagine our difficulty with a black ball in the dark sticking to our hands all the time---but we plodded through these problems over the years with no serious injuries. 

Ed didn’t mind it, either.  He kept hitting balls over the fence into the back yards of Eldred Street homes---and then Jack and I sat and talked while Ed walked around the block to the back yard to recover the ball.  Occasionaly, he took so long we believed he had a girl friend there.

Sometimes he climbed the fence.  It just depended on his store of energy at the time.  If we absolutely needed a new ball, we searched the grass in the right field area [a steep decline] for a few days and would often find a newer one someone else lost.  Then the cycle to black-taped-remnant would start anew.

Sometimes, Ed and Jack played with Paul Cartman and Mickey Kravack.  Once it got dark, they’d congregate right across the street at the fire hydrant.

Ed had a habit of picking up little stones and hitting them in the air with a bat.  The main result was pitting marks all over the meat of the bat to go with the marks from the black tape.  But on one night, the bat missed the stone and connected with Mickey’s head.  And Ed had a Babe Ruth 33oz bat!  Mom fixed Mickey up, and the stone hitting stopped---at least at the fire hydrant talks.

During my high school years, Ed once volunteered to act as a chaperone for one of my class trips---this one to Rye Playland.  Although he was friendly with all of us on the bus ride, we didn’t see him at all during the day, which suited him and was our idea of a good chaperoning.

I knew more about Ed in those days.  He was a big fan of Brenda Lee and Doris Day, which didn’t exactly match the aloof aura he wished to project.  In recent years he added Hollie Steel, Jackie Evancho, and Celine Dione to his likes.

On the political front, he indicated he was an Independent with common sense.  And he counted among his favorite pundits and politicians: Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Sean Hannity, Michele Bachman, John Boehner and Martha MacCallum.  He was a patriotic soul who supported our troops, Fox News, and Arizona in every way.  That sound more like a Conservative.

Ed’s favorite quote was:  “I limit myself to 1 drink a day. Right now I am 5 months ahead.”  He thought it was hilarious.  His second favorite was:  "I'm going nucking futs!"  He used both as sign-offs on his emails.

He was a good poker player in our penny ante games with Vince Smith and our Uncle Bill Stevens.  And he was a worthy Pinochle opponent.  The two of us played plenty of that as well as another card game, Casino.
He taught me hearts as well. 

In recent years, Ed played poker online, usually winning.  But the stakes were more akin to penny-ante based on the winnings he told me about.

We played chess by mail when he was in the Air Force, but we never finished a game.  Procrastination on both our sides usually destroyed the games in progress.

After retiring, Ed spent a great deal of time with his son, Kevin.  They both favored baseball and NASCAR, and they traveled to many places across the Country and attended [and Kevin participated successfully in] the local Special Olympics.

Ed’s at peace now, and all his problems are behind him.  He was something of a worry wart in his later years, but he refused to follow instructions from his doctors and lawyers.  He just wouldn’t give up smoking or drinking---or anything else, though he did it mostly at home. 

We talked a lot, and he listened to my suggestions---and then often went out and did pretty much what he was going to do anyway.  I did my best, though I knew he’d possibly ignore me---in most cases, that is.  I did succeed in a few.

I think I know about how all this fits in together.  You see, Ed very much hated having to live in Middletown [NY].  The only thing keeping him here was the nearness of his son, Kevin.  Ed had a great love for his son, and Kevin returned it fivefold.  They had a strong relationship.  And I think having Ed as his father, gave Kevin more strength to deal with his personal difficulties more easily.

Ed never explained his desire to leave Middletown, but I think he wanted his last days to be somewhere not Middletown---where he grew up.  He spent so much time in Europe and other American States while in the Air Force, perhaps he just wanted to be somewhere like that again.  He also wanted more friends to be near.

As noted above, Ed and Kevin traveled to numerous places around the Country during their vacations.  Between the two, they took numerous pictures, and Ed uploaded many of them to various sites for everyone to see.

Ed rarely talked about his military career, but he did go back to the Air Force after a one-year civilian layoff, and he retired after twenty years total service between 1959 and 1980.  He served at Lackland AFB; Keesler AFB; Travis AFB; Sembach AB in Germany; Johnson Island in the Pacific; I think the Kaiserslautern Army Unit in Germany as well; and others.  He retired as a Top Sergeant, after serving as an Automatic Tracking Radar Technician and a Morse Systems Operator over the years.

I discovered Ed had earned a number of medals and honors over his 20 years:  Air Force Good Conduct Medal with 4 bronze loops; Small Arms Expert Marksmanship ribbon; Air Force Longevity Service Ribbon with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters; Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with 2 Devices; Army Occupational Medal; and of course the National Defense Service Medal.

Considering I know he used to raise hell when out on passes to the local towns, I’m a little surprised at the Good Conduct longevity.  But, perhaps the stories I heard were wrong or exaggerated.  If Ed was honored, then Ed deserved the recognition.

When I was first ill in the 1990s, my parents helped me survive with moral and financial support.  Ed---without being asked---sent me money as well.  He helped me get through the worst time of my life, a time when my illness led to the loss of all my assets and resources.  I can thank Ed for his help in my surviving until I could start turning things around.

Ed left a modest estate because of his one mistake, albeit a major one.  And he had to sell everything of value to pay for his health and legal expenses.  But don’t count Ed out.  He left his mark by serving honorably in the United States Air Force, being a good brother, and assisting his parents and his youngest brother in their times of need. This and his help for his son all combine to make him a hero in my eyes.  He has a major place in my heart [despite his failings] along with Mom and Dad.

"His wings are gray and trailing, Azrael, Angel of Death;
And yet the souls that Azrael brings Across the dark and cold,
Look up beneath those folded wings,
And find them lined with gold.”
- Robert Gilbert Welsh

Ed will be missed very much.  And he’ll remain in the memories of many for a long time.  Good-bye Ed.  I love you.