Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Happy birthday Clint.

May 31, 2011
The news as I see it and the views as I want them.
May 31 is … National Macaroon Day

Men relate to him, women’s hearts skip a beat. He’s the strong, silent type. He’s Clint Eastwood, Jr., born, probably complete with leathered face, on this day in San Francisco in 1930. He made his mother’s day, no doubt. Critics panned the 6'4" tall actor. Most thought he couldn’t deliver a line. He would have agreed with them back in 1954 when he took his first screen test. But instead, he ended up laughing all the way to the bank.

As movies changed, Clint matured with them. He learned to whisper his lines in a loud voice while squinting his eyes. He learned his art and became an accomplished, Academy Award-winning director and producer (Unforgiven in 1992). Eastwood actually made his directing debut with the 1971 film, Play Misty for Me. His work ethic, developed when he was just a young boy, helped him finish the movie on time and in budget; a habit he continued as director of High Plains Drifter, The Eiger Sanction, The Outlaw Josey Wales and Bronco Billy among others.

Whether actor, director, producer (made his producer debut in the 1982 film, Firefox), stunt man (does his own stunts), or politician (was the mayor of Carmel, California), Clint Eastwood, as Vincent Canby wrote in The New York Times, “...absorbed the years and turned them into guts and grit.” Canby was writing about Eastwood’s performance in Heartbreak Ridge, but it could have been a comment on his life’s work.

Whether you picture him as the young cattle driver, Rowdy, in the seven-year-long television series, Rawhide; the silent, man with no name in Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly); the fatally attractive DJ in Play Misty for Me; the death-defying rock-hard cop, Dirty Harry; or the sexy, mature photographer who stole the heart of an Iowa farm-wife in The Bridges of Madison County, Clint Eastwood has somewhere, sometime, made your day.

I received this email from a friend and my wife. I did not write this but thought it is worth passing along. Many of you may have also received this or seen it before. Take a minute and read it. It might help if you are alone. I should have published this on Memorial Day but that column was already partially written when I received this.

They told me the big black Lab's name was Reggie,
as I looked at him lying in his pen..  The shelter was
clean, no-kill, and the people really friendly.
I'd only been in the area for six months, but everywhere
I went in the small college town, people were welcoming and open. 
Everyone waves when you pass them on the street.

But something was still missing as I attempted to
settle in to my new life here, and I thought a dog
couldn't hurt.  Give me someone to talk to.
And I had just seen Reggie's advertisement on the local
news.  The shelter said they had received numerous
calls right after, but they said the people who had come
down to see him just didn't look like "Lab
people," whatever that meant.  They must've thought I did.

But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me in giving me Reggie and his things,
which consisted of a dog pad, bag of toys almost all of which were brand new tennis
balls, his dishes, and a sealed letter from his previous owner.  See, Reggie and I didn't really hit it off
when we got home.  We struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter told me to give him to adjust to his new home).  Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to adjust, too. 
Maybe we were too much alike.

For some reason, his stuff (except for the tennis balls --- he wouldn't go anywhere without two stuffed in
his mouth) got tossed in with all of my other unpacked boxes. 
I guess I didn't really think he'd need all his old stuff, that I'd get him new things once he
settled in.  But it became pretty clear pretty soon that he wasn't going to.

I tried the normal commands the shelter told me he knew, ones like "sit" and "stay" and
"come" and "heel," and he'd follow them - when he felt like it.
He never really seemed to listen when I called his name --- sure, he'd look in my
direction after the fourth or fifth time I said it, but then he'd just go back to doing whatever. 
When I'd ask again, you could almost see him sigh and then grudgingly obey.

This just wasn't going to work.  He chewed a couple shoes and some unpacked boxes. 
I was a little too stern with him and he resented it, I could tell.
The friction got so bad that I couldn't wait for th e two
weeks to be up, and when it was, I was in full-on search
mode for my cell phone amid all of my unpacked stuff.  I
remembered leaving it on the stack of boxes for the guest
room, but I also mumbled, rather cynically, that the
"damn dog probably hid it on me."

Finally I found it, but before I could punch up the
shelter's number, I also found his pad and other toys
from the shelter...I tossed the pad in Reggie's
direction and he snuffed it and wagged, some of the most
enthusiasm I'd seen since bringing him home.  But
then I called, "Hey, Reggie, you like that?  Come
here and I'll give you a treat."  Instead, he sort of glanced in my direction --- maybe "glared"
is more accurate --- and then gave a discontented sigh and flopped down .... with his back to me.

Well, that's not going to do it either, I thought.  And I punched the shelter phone number.

But I hung up when I saw the sealed envelope.
I had completely forgotten about that, too.
"Okay, Reggie,"  I said out loud,
"let's see if your previous owner has any advice."

____________ _________ _________ _________

Whoever Gets My Dog:
Well, I can't say that I'm happy you're reading this, a letter I told the shelter
could only be opened by Reggie's new owner.
I'm not even happy writing it.  If you're reading this,
it means I just got back from my last car ride with my Lab
after dropping him off at the shelter.
He knew something was different.
I have packed up his pad and toys before and set them by the back door before a trip,
but this time... it's like he knew something was wrong.
And something is wrong...which is why I have
to go to try to make it right.

So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it
will help you bond with him and he with you.

First, he loves tennis balls.
The more the merrier.  Sometimes I think he's part
squirrel, the way he hordes them.  He usually always
has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in
there.  Hasn't done it yet.  Doesn't
matter where you throw them, he'll bound after it, so be
careful - really don't do it by any roads.  I made
that mistake once, and it almost cost him dearly.

Next, commands.  Maybe the shelter staff already told you, but I'll go over them
again:  Reggie knows the obvious ones ---
"sit,"  "stay,"  "come," "heel." 
He knows hand signals:
"back" to turn around and go back when you put
your hand straight up; and "over" if you put your
hand out right or left.  "Shake" for shaking
water off, and "paw" for a high-five.  He
does "down" when he feels like lying down --- I bet
you could work on that with him some more.  He knows
"ball" and "food" and "bone"
and "treat" like  nobody's business.

I trained Reggie with small food treats. 
Nothing opens his ears like little pieces of hot dog.

Feeding schedule:  twice a day,
 once about seven in the morning, and again at six in
the evening.   Regular store-bought stuff; the shelter
has the brand.

He's up on his shots.
Call the clinic on 9th Street and update his info with
yours; they'll make sure to send you reminders for when
he's due.  Be forewarned:  Reggie hates the vet. 
Good luck getting him in the car.
I don't know how he knows when it's time to go to the vet, but he knows.

Finally, give him some time.
I've never been married, so it's only been Reggie
and me for his whole life.  He's gone everywhere
with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if
you can.  He sits well in the backseat, and he
doesn't bark or complain.  He just loves to be
around people, and me most especially.

Which means that this transition is
going to be hard, with him going to live with someone new.

And that's why I need to share
one more bit of info with you....

His name's not Reggie.

I don't know what made me do it, but
when I dropped him off at the shelter, I told them
his name was Reggie.
He's a smart dog, he'll get used to it
and will respond to it, of that I have no
doubt.  But I just couldn't bear to give them his
real name.  For me to do that, it seemed so final, that
handing him over to the shelter was as good as me admitting
that I'd never see him again.  And if I end up
coming back, getting him, and tearing up this letter, it
means everything's fine.  But if someone else is
reading it, well ... well it means that his new owner should
know his real name.  It'll help you bond with
him.  Who knows, maybe you'll even notice a change
in his demeanor if he's been giving you problems.

His real name is "Tank".

Because that is what I drive.

Again, if you're reading this
and you're from the area, maybe my name has been on the
news.  I told the shelter that they couldn't make
"Reggie" available for adoption until they
received word from my company commander.  See, my
parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could've
left Tank with ... and it was my only real request of the
Army upon my deployment to Iraq , that they make one phone..
call the shelter ... in the "event" ... to tell
them that Tank could be put up for adoption.  Luckily,
my colonel is a dog guy, too, and he knew where my platoon
was headed.  He said he'd do it
personally.  And if you're reading this, then
he made good on his word.

Well, this letter is getting downright depressing,
even though, frankly, I'm just
writing it for my dog.  I couldn't imagine if I was
writing it for a wife and kids and family ... but still,
Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as
long as the Army has been my family.

And now I hope and pray that you
make him part of your family and that he will adjust and
come to love you the same way he loved me.

That unconditional love from a dog
is what I take with me to Iraq as an inspiration to do
something selfless, to protect innocent people from those
who would do terrible things ... and to keep those terrible
people from coming over here.  If I have to give up Tank
in order to do it, I am glad to have done so.  He is
my example of service and of love.  I hope I honored
him by my service to my country and comrades.

All right, that's enough.
I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at
the shelter.  I don't think I'll say another
good-bye to Tank, though.  I cried too much the first
time.  Maybe I'll peek in on him and see if he
finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.

Good luck with Tank.  Give him a good home,
and give him an extra kiss goodnight - every night - from me.

Thank you, 
Paul Mallory

____________ _________ _________ _______

I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope.
Sure I had heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even
new people like me.  Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning the Silver Star
when he gave his life to save three buddies. 
Flags had been at half-mast all summer.

I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the dog.

"Hey, Tank," I said quietly.

The dog's head whipped up, his ears cocked and his eyes bright.

"C'mere boy."

He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on
the hardwood floor.  He sat in front of me, his head
tilted, searching for the name he hadn't heard in months.

"Tank," I whispered.

His tail swished.

I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each
time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture
relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood
him.  I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried
my face into his scruff and hugged him.

"It's me now, Tank, just you and me.
Your old pal gave you to me."  Tank reached up and
licked my cheek.  "So whatdaya say we play some ball?" 
His ears perked again.
"Yeah?  Ball?  You like that?  Ball?" 
Tank tore from my hands and disappeared in the next room.

And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth.

Pretty neat, huh?

Just a couple of thoughts I had.
DEKALB, IL 60115

Go to web sites below to buy books by Bruce A. Brennan. It is still a good time to purchase any of my books. The books are interesting and inexpensive reads. My third book should be available later this year, in late 2011. More information will be forthcoming.

www.ebookmall.com (Do search by my name or book Title)
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ (do a quick search, Title, my name)
www.smashwords.com Do a Title or author search.

Book Titles:

Holmes the Ripper

A Revengeful Mix of Short Fiction

  "The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

Monday, May 30, 2011

Thank you, Veterans of our Armed Sevices, here and gone.

May 30, 2011
The news as I see it and the views as I want them.
May 30 is … My Bucket's Got A Hole in It Day, bummer.

Memorial Day bought and paid for by the United States Military since 1776. Thank a Veteran today.

Memorial Day, it should be more important than it is. It has become the unofficial beginning of summer, a day for picnics, baseball, and golf and parties unless you are in the military stationed at Arlington National Cemetery. In a stirring tribute to mark Memorial Day each year, all available soldiers of the elite 3rd U.S. Infantry (known as The Old Guard) gather at Arlington National Cemetery to perform a special task. Just before the Memorial Day weekend, they place American flags, one foot and centered, in front of the gravestones and columbarium niches of every service member buried or inurned at Arlington Cemetery.

This tradition of honor, known as Flags-in, has taken place ever since 1948 when The Old Guard was appointed as the ceremonial unit for the U.S. Army. During the Memorial Day weekend, members of The Old Guard patrol the cemetery to make sure each gravesite remains decorated and honored with a flag. In addition, sentinels for the Tomb of the Unknowns place flags at each of the unknown servicemen graves.

The flags are removed after the three-day weekend.

Today, please remember the Minutemen; the Militia; the Army; the Cavalry; the Navy; the Marines;; the Merchant Marines; the Color Guard; the Civil War soldier; the World War I soldier; the Air Force; the World War II soldier; the Korean War soldier; the Vietnam soldier, like my cousin, Paul Woolford from Streator, IL who was killed in Vietnam on November 10, 1969 at the age of 23. He left a young widow. Remember the soldiers in the Cold War; Grenada; the first Gulf War; the Battle of Mogadishu; the current Gulf War; Afghanistan and every other place or conflict an American has died being an American. 

If you know someone that died in Vietnam or just want to look up names, go to;  http://www.thewall-usa.com/

Go here for some inspiration and patriotic pride. http://www.andiesisle.com/Liberty/SpiritofAmerica.html

This web site gives everything to you. It is spiritual but not in your face.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.
In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms. Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children's League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans' organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their “Buddy” Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.

Traditional observance of Memorial Day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50's on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye's Heights, the Luminaria Program. In 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to “Taps."

Reprinted from Arlington National Cemetery site:

On any weekday at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, a military ritual occurs that is both familiar and moving. An escort of honor comes to attention and presents arms. A firing party then fires three volleys. After the briefest of moments, a bugler sounds the twenty-four notes we know of as Taps. The flag, held by members of the military honor guard, is then folded into a triangle reminiscent of the cocked hat from the American Revolution. This ceremony is performed almost twenty times daily during the many funerals held at Arlington. This ritual is also used for the thousands of Memorial Day ceremonies held throughout the United States during events held to remember those Americans who have served our country. As one travels through Arlington the history of our country can literally be read on the quarter million stones.
Arlington and the tradition of Memorial Day were born out of ironies perhaps we might even consider them as tragic or dramatic as in a Greek or Shakespearean irony.
Irony-The famous home at Arlington was located on the land of a Confederate General whose wife’s grandfather served as president of the United States.
Irony-The land was ordered for military use by a general who so hated that Confederate general that he ordered graves dug in the rose garden so that house could no longer be habitable.
Irony-The tradition of decorations on graves started in the south, then considered an enemy country.
And it is a bitter irony that the day of remembrance has almost faded into a weekend of picnics, shopping sprees, and beach vacations. Too many don’t know what the day stands for.
Between 1861 and 1865 our country sorted out whether it could survive as one or two separate nations. It took the tragedy of a Civil War to make us truly a “United” States.
In the spring of 1864 after some of the bloodiest battles of the war and with the Confederacy in its last desperate months, the need for more military cemeteries became a paramount issue in Washington D.C. In the days before refrigeration, and especially in the humidity of the District of Columbia, bodies had to be buried as quickly as possible.
In May 1864 Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs was ordered by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to find new and suitable burial grounds for the mounting dead. Without hesitation, Meigs ordered the grounds of the Custis-Lee mansion be turned into a cemetery.
The mansion, which had belonged to Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate Army, was under the control of Union forces. Meigs (a Georgia man by birth) picked the grounds not only because he felt Lee had betrayed his country by leaving it to serve the south but also because he blamed him for the death of his son who had been killed by Confederate soldiers, supposedly murdered. The interment of Union soldiers began in May. Ironically the first burial in the Union cemetery was a Confederate soldier. The grounds would go on to become Arlington National Cemetery our nations’ most hallowed ground.
No one can trace with any certainty the origin of the Memorial Day; it is well believed that the day was born with those who decorated the graves of civil war dead.
Many towns (Waterloo NY being the most prominent) have laid claim to the origin of the tradition. It may have started with women in the South. Originally it was known as Decoration Day. Towns held parades honoring the fallen, the parade routes often times ending at a local cemetery, where Decoration Day speeches were then given. People took the time that day to clean and decorate with flowers and flags the graves of those that fell in service to their country.
In May 1868 General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a proclamation calling for the decoration of graves.
“Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”- General Logan – May 5, 1868
In 1882 the day was changed to Memorial Day and to be observed May 30th.In 1971 it was moved to the last Monday in May. Ironically there are some in the south that observe the day on a different day.
Another tradition of Memorial Day is that of giving speeches, addresses or orations at gatherings. The most famous memorial oratory was the one given by Abraham Lincoln and although he gave it on November 19, 1863 it sets the model for speeches and orations of the type. The irony is that the address was not the main oration to be given that day nor expected to be a long speech. According to Gary Wills, author of “Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America,” the address uses the form of the oratory of the Greek Revival and of the funereal addresses of ancient Athens, the imagery of the nineteenth-century rural cemetery movement, the Transcendentalist thought of Unitarian minister and abolitionist Theodore Parker, and the constitutional arguments of Daniel Webster. That he did this in some 242 words is a masterpiece of our American literature.” His words are quoted every Memorial Day:
“…that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion: that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; and that this nation under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
In the 145 years since the Civil War, our nation has healed its wounds and every Memorial Day pauses to remember the war dead. In that time Arlington National Cemetery and the traditions of Memorial Day have gone hand in hand. In 1912 the country was truly reunited when the Confederate monument was dedicated at Arlington and a special section was set for those who served in the Confederate Army. The cemetery which was set to honor Americans ironically today holds the remains of many foreign nationals including a German soldier from WWII.
In 1958, the Unknowns from World War II and the Korean Conflict were laid to rest on Memorial Day and in 1984 the Vietnam Unknown joined them in honored rest. Another irony is that the Unknown was identified and reburied in Missouri.
Ironically, over the years the meaning of Memorial Day has faded too much from the public consciousness. From a solemn day of mourning, remembrance, and honor to our departed loved ones, it has turned into a weekend of Bar B Q’s, shopping bargains and beaches where only token nods toward our honored dead is given, if at all.
I think Oliver Wendell Holmes, chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Civil War Veteran said it best:
“So to the indifferent inquirer who asks why Memorial Day is still kept up we may answer, it celebrates and solemnly reaffirms from year to year a national act of enthusiasm and faith. It embodies in the most impressive form our belief that to act with enthusiasm and faith is the condition of acting greatly”-Oliver Wendell Holmes Memorial Day address May 30, 1884
The final tradition is the bugle call
Of all the military bugle calls, none is so easily recognized or more apt to stir our emotions than the haunting and eloquent melody of Taps. The call is unique to the United States military. Taps is used at U.S. bases around the world as the final call of the day. It has given a sense of safety and security to U.S. soldiers from the Civil War on, signaling to our men and women in uniform that another day in service to their country is done and all is well.
There is a wonderful myth about the origin of Taps. During the Civil War, it says, there was a young soldier who was killed while fighting for the Confederacy. His father, a captain in the Union Army, came upon his son’s body on the battlefield. In the pocket of his son’s uniform, he found the notes for Taps. Ironically, this story will be repeated on Memorial Day.
This is a great story but it’s just that a story.
In 1862, Union General Daniel Butterfield and his brigade bugler, Oliver Willcox Norton, revised an earlier bugle call to create the 24 notes we know today as Taps. The new call quickly spread throughout the Union army and was soon used even by Confederates to signal the end of the day.
Later that same year at a battlefield funeral, Captain John Tidball chose to forgo firing the customary volleys over the grave for fear that he might rouse the enemy. The Captain chose the sounding of Taps as the most appropriate substitute.
Today, sounding Taps at ceremonies is the most sacred duty a bugler can perform. When I sound Taps at a funeral, I’m sometimes approached by family members who wish to thank me for being part of the service. To answer “You’re welcome” seems inappropriate. Instead, I always reply, “It is my honor.”
So traditions born of Irony are celebrated every Memorial Day

Just a couple of thoughts I had.
DEKALB, IL 60115

Go to web sites below to buy books by Bruce A. Brennan. It is still a good time to purchase any of my books. The books are interesting and inexpensive reads. My third book should be available later this year, in late 2011. More information will be forthcoming.

www.ebookmall.com (Do search by my name or book Title)
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ (do a quick search, Title, my name)
www.smashwords.com Do a Title or author search.

Book Titles:

Holmes the Ripper

A Revengeful Mix of Short Fiction

"A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself." - Joseph Campbell

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Patrick Henry, Bob Hope, John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Al Unser.

May 29, 2011
The news as I see it and the views as I want them.
May 29 is … End of the Middle Ages Day

Now we are in the Old Ages. That is why the world has been treaty us so badly. It is telling us to get off her lawn.

The Illinois legislature is ready to end the spring session. Our state is bankrupt. The state pension system has been the object of mismanagement, lies, theft and deception; it is the worst in the nation. The answer the nuthouse in Springfield comes up with is let’s take more money from the people in the system even though they joined under certain terms and now Springfield wants to change the rules. In January, our state increased income taxes by 67% and more. As the session winds down, what are our elected monkeys doing? They are trying to outlaw trans-fats. They are redrawing district lines to ensure self preservation. They are discussing more gambling and a casino for Chicago, a concept they bring up every year and have since 1991 but never take any action on. They want to tax our soft drinks and bottled water. They want to consolidate school districts but never will.

It is time for another Constitutional Convention and term limits. I believe a union our retired workers group should file a lawsuit for theft, mismanagement, deceptive practices and negligence against every state legislator, current and former, from 1972 to today. Every state executive in an elected position must also be named in the suit. This can be one against corporate officials, stockbrokers and money managers. The defense will be state immunity but immunity does not apply in intentional conduct situations. That would force all the politicians to deny it was intentional conduct meaning they were too stupid and incompetent to see what everyone else saw and told them about.

Not everything in Illinois is going to hell in a hand basket. The University of Illinois won the regular season Big Ten crown in the in baseball this year. Last night they won the Big Ten baseball tournament. That gives the Illini the automatic bid into the NCAA baseball tournament which culminates with the College World Series in Omaha. Congratulations and good luck to the Illini. Will Strack of Sycamore, IL is a pitcher on the Illini team.

It is Sunday but the megachurch that produces the “Hour of Power” weekly TV service is not having a good day and has not had many good days for several years. The Southern California megachurch founded by one of the nation's pioneering televangelists, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, on Friday filed a bankruptcy plan that would pull the Crystal Cathedral out of crushing debt by selling its sprawling campus and famous, glass-spired sanctuary to a local real estate investment group for $47 million. The plan would allow the ministry to lease the church buildings back for a guaranteed 15-year period, with the additional option of buying the core campus back at a fixed price within four years, said Marc Winthrop, the church's bankruptcy attorney.

The deal would erase the cathedral's $36 million mortgage and wipe out almost all of the $10 million in unsecured debt — including $7.5 million owed to vendors — that has plagued the Crystal Cathedral for several years after a disastrous leadership transition and a devastating slump in donations.

The charismatic Schuller got his start in Southern California preaching about the "power of positive thinking" from the roof of a concession stand at a drive-in theater as the car culture began to boom in the post-World War II era. He was considered a theological radical at the time, but people were soon driving from all over the Los Angeles area to sit in their cars and listen to Schuller preach through the movie loudspeakers that hooked to their windows.

Schuller, now 84, soon turned his humble pulpit into one of the nation's first megachurches, beaming his weekly Sunday service into 1 million homes worldwide through the "Hour of Power" TV show, which went on the air in 1970. Schuller became a familiar presence on television, a smiling figure in flowing robes, with snowy white hair and wire-rimmed aviator glasses.

In 1980, he opened the Crystal Cathedral, a 2,900-seat see-through church made of 10,664 panes of glass. A $20 million architectural marvel designed by the acclaimed Philip Johnson, it became a major Southern California landmark and a tourist attraction that drew people from all over the world. Schuller soon added a K-12 school and a tourist center. But his religious empire began to collapse after a disastrous attempt in 2006 to hand over the leadership to his son, Robert A. Schuller. The much-heralded changeover alienated older "Hour of Power" viewers and ended in a bitter and very public family spat, with the younger Schuller disappearing from the broadcasts and abruptly leaving the church altogether in 2008, less than three years after he assumed his father's mantle. The elder Schuller's daughter, Sheila Schuller Coleman, was eventually named senior pastor, a position she continues to hold.

A plummeting economy also took its toll, and viewer donations declined by as much as 24 percent in 2009, the year before the church declared bankruptcy. Its local congregation now stands at fewer than 5,000 people, although new Spanish-language and Arabic-language services draw about 2,000 and 400 worshippers respectively.

Robert Schuller survived longer than most of his contemporaries. He has never been embarrassed by a sex scandal but like most of these types of TV evangelists, greed takes hold of their ambitions and thinking. I am sure he is a true believer in God and Christ but the Bible speaks of the meek inheriting the world and that it is harder for a rich man to get thru the eye of a needle than to get into heaven. None of these TV preachers speak of these biblical passages. It is convenience preaching designed to make the messenger wealthy and if some help occurs along the way, so be it.

Notable birthdays on May 29th throughout history:

1736 Patrick Henry US, patriot "Give me liberty or give me death"
1826 Ebenezer Butterick inventor (tissue paper dress pattern)
1903 Bob Hope [Leslie Townes] Kent England, entertainer/comedian (famous profile). Simply the best ever. One of the greatest Americans ever and he was not born in America.
1917 John Fitzgerald Kennedy Brookline MA, (Senator-D-MA), 35th President (1961-1963)
1939 Al Unser auto racer (Indianapolis 500-1970, 71). Did he win it on his birthday?

Notable deaths on May 29th:

1892 Baha'u'llah [Mirza HA Noeri] Persian founder (Bahá'í), dies at 74. Founded the Baha’i Faith. Check out Baha’i Temple in Wilmette.
1978 Bob Crane actor (Donna Reed Show, Hogan-Hogan's Heroes), dies at 49. This guy did stuff I wouldn’t do and I’ll try anything.

Notable events on May 29th;

1990 Dow Jones average hits a record 2,870.49
1990 New York Mets fire manager Davey Johnson & hire Bud Harrelson
1990 Rickey Henderson steals record 893rd base, breaking Ty Cobb's record

Just a couple of thoughts I had.
DEKALB, IL 60115

Go to web sites below to buy books by Bruce A. Brennan. It is still a good time to purchase any of my books. The books are interesting and inexpensive reads. My third book should be available later this year, in late 2011. More information will be forthcoming.

www.ebookmall.com (Do search by my name or book Title)
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ (do a quick search, Title, my name)
www.smashwords.com Do a Title or author search.

Book Titles:

Holmes the Ripper

A Revengeful Mix of Short Fiction

"I have always suspected that too much knowledge is a dangerous thing. It is a boon to people who don't have deep feelings; their pleasure comes from what they know about things, and their pride from showing off what they know. But this only emphasizes the difference between the artist and the scholar." - Margaret Anderson

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Zealously representing your client?

May 28, 2011
The news as I see it and the views as I want them.
May 28 is … National Hamburger Day. You can pay for it Tuesday.
You gotta love a lawyer always thinking. A lawyer must “zealously represent his client within the bounds of the law.” I think this guy is doing just that. Be careful what you pray for, however, you might just get it. A Chicago lawyer is being accused of sexism after requesting that a "large breasted woman" seated at the opposing council's table be moved as to not distract the jury.

Attorney Thomas Gooch, who is representing a Rolling Meadows car dealership in a small claims case, filed a motion last week asking Cook County Circuit Judge Anita Rivkin-Carothers to order his opposing council's paralegal to sit in the gallery with other spectators, according to the Associated Press. Gooch claims that the woman sitting next to the plaintiff's lawyer has no legal experience and was placed there to "draw the attention of the jury away from the relevant proceedings."

MOTION IN LIMINE (Presence of Plaintiff's Counsel's Companion at Counsel's Table at Trial).

Now Comes your Defendant, Exotic Motors, by and through their attorneys, Gauthier & Gooch, and as for their Motion as aforesaid states to the Court as follows:

1. That Defendant's counsel is anecdotally familiar with the tactics and theatrics of Plaintiff's counsel, [redacted]. Such behavior includes having a large breasted woman sit next to him at counsel's table during the course of the trial. There is no evidence whatsoever that this woman has any legal training whatsoever, and the sole purpose of her presence at Plaintiff’s Counsel's table is to draw the attention of the jury away from the relevant proceedings before this court, obviously prejudicing the Defendant's in this or any other cause. Until it is shown that this woman has any sort of legal background, she should be required to sit in the gallery with the rest of the spectators and be barred from sitting at counsel's table during the course of this trial.

Dmitry N. Feofanov is representing a couple that purchased an automobile from Exotic Motors, and was told it was under warranty. When the vehicle broke "almost immediately" after purchase, the dealership allegedly would not repair it.

Feofanov told Jezebel the motion involving his paralegal, Daniella Atencia, was without merit: Plantiffs' paralegal is clearly qualified for the work she performs before and during trials, and there is no reason to believe that her appearance at Plaintiffs' table will have any detrimental effect on Defendants' presentation of its case to a jury; and b) Defendant's motion does not cite any existing law or make any good-faith legal argument for the proposition that a woman may be barred from a counsel's table at a jury trial because she is "large breasted." Gooch, who told the Chicago Sun Times that he likes "large breasts," does not believe that Atencia is a paralegal and apparently has a problem with the way she dresses in the courtroom. Several law blogs--and Jezebel--have a problem with Gooch's motion.

The Above the Law blog said his motion was "dripping" with sexism.
"Why does she have to provide you with evidence of legal training? Isn't sitting there silently what most counsel do during a trial? Based on this motion, I'm thinking you are the one who should need to provide some kind of proof of legal knowledge," Above the Law’s Elie Mystal wrote.

Jezebel called the motion the "strangest -- and possibly most sexist -- legal endeavors" they ever heard of. They have apparently been living in a cave or none of them ever go to Court as a lawyer.

Everybody is entitled to an opinion. The one that counts is the attorney’s client’s opinion. This also managed to get the auto dealer some free publicity. In the publicity game, you don’t care what they say just spell the name correctly.

The case goes to trial on June 2.

Just a couple of thoughts I had.
DEKALB, IL 60115

Go to web sites below to buy books by Bruce A. Brennan. It is still a good time to purchase any of my books. The books are interesting and inexpensive reads. My third book should be available later this year, in late 2011. More information will be forthcoming.

www.ebookmall.com (Do search by my name or book Title)
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ (do a quick search, Title, my name)
www.smashwords.com Do a Title or author search.

Book Titles:

Holmes the Ripper

A Revengeful Mix of Short Fiction

"The earthly paradise is where I am." - Voltaire