Today, my daughter is 30. The same age I was when she was born.
By age 30, I was married, beginning my own PI business, and scared to death about the prospect of fatherhood. Then she arrived and made it easy
Here it is 30 years hence, and by all-that-is-holy she should have been married, and had children. She aspired to be a veterinarian. I never had the privilege of walking her down the aisle or holding a grandbaby. Or proudly watching her get her degree. Or even her diploma.
She was taken from us in 1985. In a stupid car accident.
So she’ll always be age 12 in my heart. Or just born.
Happy Birthday, Molly! I Love You.
One year ago I was anticipating tomorrow being Ground Hog Day – that silly ‘holiday’ alleged to determine if Winter is on her way out, or lasting six more weeks. Based on the prognostication of a marmot; a woodchuck.
It was a Wednesday – the immediate previous Sunday, Mark Bell and I had attended the Central Arizona Blogshoot in Casa Grande! My car is kinda old and infirmed (as is her owner) so he offered to drive us.
We arrived late, but Kevin Baker and company showed us a great time! We met some other gun bloggers and some other shooters – great fun. Then Mark drove me back to Phoenix, and we had a late lunch at Original Hamburger Works. I was unable to attend the shoot this year.
Part of the reason for missing it is my ride is gone. On Wednesday, February 1, 2012, three days after the shoot, Mark Bell passed away, suddenly. His wife called me Thursday, Ground Hog Day, to give me the bad news. It’s a year later and it seems as yesterday.
I tend to get overly emotional, to react rather than act. I am getting better. Mark was my teacher. I never saw him lose his cool or express strong anger or rage. He was always rational and soft spoken, even in disagreement. A man of fine character and deportment.
A few years back, I was in the middle of trying to refinance my house (the one I lost last June) and the appraiser asked that I paint the trim. Now, I’m no painter, and being disabled would make this an arduous task. Mark volunteered, and I insisted on paying him, because, after all, it WAS work. He agreed, and said he would take it out of my extra re-fi funds. He accomplished the task in a couple weekends, and I got the financing. And I cut him a check. This was in late November.
Christmas afternoon I was between family Christmas get-togethers, and there was a knock at my front door. It was Mark, with a present! He again thanked ME for letting him paint (!) said he used the money for presents for his family. There was room for an additional present. Mine.
I was dumbfounded. It was the complete Capitol Record selections of Frank Sinatra on DVD! Wonderful!
Of course, every time I listen to Sinatra, I think of Mark. And other times, too.
I love you and miss you, my friend.
Remember – hug those you love and tell them you love them. Because you never know. Groundhog Day Eve will never be the same.
I’ve always liked character actors. He is among one of my favorites, although I was only four when he passed away. Thank goodness for old film nights on TV, and VHS/DVD recordings!
Petrified Forest, Casablanca, The Caine Mutiny, The African Queen, Sabrina. The Big Sleep. If you’ve not seen these films (and many others) you’ve missed something.
He was politically incorrect before such a phrase existed. A smoker, drinker and brawler, although thin and 5’9″, he was married four times. The last time to Lauren Bacall, 24 years his junior. They had two children.
Lauren Bacall as ‘Slim’ to Bogie in To Have and Have Not:
“You know you don’t have to act with me, Steve. You don’t have to say anything, and you don’t have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and… blow.”
He died of esophageal cancer. His wife placed a gold whistle in his cremation urn. It reads, “If you need anything, just whistle.”
This just in…
Charles Durning, who worked in Hollywood for nearly six full decades working on over 200 titles, has passed away at the age of 89. The character actor’s death was confirmed by his daughter, having died last night in his Manhattan home. As prolific as they come, Durning split his career between the stage, the small screen and big screen. He earned acclaim for his take on Big Daddy in an early 90s staging of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, had recurring roles on series like Everybody Loves Raymond, Evening Shade and Rescue Me, and starred in classic movies like Tootsie and The Sting.
Charles Durning was a U. S. Army Ranger at Normandy earning a Silver Star and awarded the Purple Heart.
I especially loved him as the PI in De Palma’s Sisters, and the Governor in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
h/t Cinema Blend.com, Real Hollywood Heroes
Senator Daniel Inouye, the longest serving U.S.Senator after the passing of Robert Byrd, died today.
While I disagreed with most of the man’s politics, he was indeed a true American hero.
His Medal of Honor citation:
Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper’s bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
He was a medical volunteer immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack, and enlisted in 1943, after the U.S. Army dropped it’s ban on Japanese-Americans. I remember seeing him on a late-night talk show (Tomorrow – Tom Snyder?) and he spoke of being 17 and looking skyward at the attacking planes flying over his home shaking his fist and saying, “God Damn Japs!”
h/t TinCan Assassin
Out of the blue, in 1984, the absurdist comedy television show Night Court premiered. I was an immediate fan. It ran from 1984 to 1992.
As a semi-professional magician (in my youth), I really appreciated the casting of comic magician Harry Anderson as Judge Harold T. Stone. I met him at a friend’s funeral. He is a true gentleman – and very tall. And I grew to love John Larroquette as that horn-dog D. A. Dan Fielding. He, too is tall. And won FOUR Emmys in the role!
It’s coincidental I was preparing a post about Night Court when I found out the show’s creator and chief writer, Reinhold Weege, passed away December 1 at age 62.
You should go to the link below and read more about he and the show. The 80s were not that long ago, were they?
I recently had a conversation with a friend which sparked a bittersweet memory.
One of the things many of us miss as adults is the wonder, the surprise, the simple serendipity of joy. In childhood we experience it often, probably because most things and experiences are new to us, and we’ve yet to become jaded.
One of my favorite memories of my daughter Molly was when I gave her a gift. She was turning twelve, and I knew just as the Sun rose in the morning that soon she would be developing into a teenager, full of doubt and promise. One who no longer trusted her parents to be all-knowing and truthful. Because, of course, we weren’t and could never be.
But here we were, proud father giving his daughter a present. She opened it, her eyes widened, and there was that sudden exhalation of breath. Excitement, happiness, joy. Innocence and appreciation in one second, one breath. Followed by the big hug.
I don’t even remember what I had given her. But what she gave me was so much more. An everlasting memory of a happy young woman, unspoiled by the adolescent hormones of parental treachery. Not yet jump-started into that distrust generated simply by being parents and adults.
Zen masters tell us to be in the now. Live life as if each moment was your last. This is what Molly showed me that day.
I’ve had many difficult times of year. The holidays and my birthday comprise one such time. Not because of those specific events, but rather because of who’s not there.
But, I’ve already received my present this year. As I get every year – when I remember it.
Live in the now, with joy, and never be disappointed.
Thank you, Molly.
(borrowed from Theo Spark, because it made me cry…)
Please remember. And shake hands and thank a Veteran to day (or tomorrow). If you are able.(Thanks for your service, Mark Bell, because I can no longer call you or shake your hand.)
h/t Parker and Hart
Whipped Cream Difficulties links to an L.A. Times story this morning…
Most of you know I’m not a sports fan. My father slept, ate, breathed, lived sports, so much to the degree that especially after my disability developed at age 12 (and I could no longer play sports with him) I became a sports orphan.
Regardless, I knew of Mr. Karras sporting prowess, and thoroughly enjoyed his comedic antics, especially as the lummox Mongo in Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles.
“Mongo just pawn in game of life.”
When I worked at the convenience store, I would sometimes avail myself of the paperback books for sale. The ‘lending library’ we clerks used to call it. George Plimpton’s book Mad Ducks and Bears spent much time on the education of Alex Karras, from a Mongo-like character to an erudite skilled actor and football player. It is also full of hilarious anecdotes. A worthy read, even for a non-sports person like myself.
We’re gonna miss the big guy.
One of these is Vegas.
This is not to be confused with the Robert Urich vehicle, Vega$, or the other show Las Vegas.
It is a 1960 period piece, set in Las Vegas, showing the actions of a reluctant sheriff against the ever-present mob-as run by the new mob guy, fresh in from Chicago.
Think the second season of another one of my favorite shows, Crime Story. Only this time it’s Dennis Quaid as the incorruptible law enforcement officer, instead of Dennis Farina.
And Michael Chiklis instead of Tony Dennison, as the mob boss.
Set in 1960s Las Vegas, the series centers on Sheriff Ralph Lamb (Quaid) and his dealings with Chicagomobster Vincent Savino (Chiklis), who moved west to set up his own operation. The Lamb character is based on a real-life former rancher who served as Sheriff of Clark County from 1961 to 1979.
One of the series creators and writers is Nicholas Pileggi, famous author, expert on things Mafia, author of Wise Guy and Casino. Between the cars, the set dressing, the costumes and the characters, you might find something on which to hang your hat. Undoubtedly a snap-brim fedora…(Neither CBS, nor anyone else, gives me anything for this recommendation. Pound sand, FTC!)