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Bittersweet

It’s February 8th.

Regular readers might remember this is my daughter Molly’s birthday.  In this case her 34th.  Sadly, she only made it to her 12th.  😦

(The twenty-second anniversary of the accident that took her from us is in about five weeks.)

Molly 1986 2

I try to remember happier birthdays.

Last year, another element was added to this date.

Bob Hall, my dear friend whom I met when were worked as private investigators together, who before had attended junior high and high school with my then wife-to-be, and later managed the Legendary Gun gun store (where I worked part time, for a while) in 2016 passed into eternity.  Complications from cancer.

See, I told you this time of year sucked for me.

People we care about love, passing way before their time is a travesty!

Please take the opportunity today to hug those close to you, and tell them you love them.

You never know…

 

Mike Connors R.I.P.

 Death, obviously knows no change in calendars…
mike-connors

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mike Connors, who starred as a hard-hitting private eye on the long-running television series “Mannix,” has died. He was 91.

The actor died surrounded by family Thursday afternoon at a Los Angeles hospital from complications of leukemia that had been diagnosed a week earlier, said his son-in-law, Mike Condon.

“Mannix” ran for eight years on CBS beginning in 1967. Viewers were intrigued by the tall, smartly dressed, well-spoken detective who could mix it up with the burliest of thugs and leap on the hood of a racing car to prevent an escape. Episodes normally climaxed with a brawl that left the culprits bruised and beaten.

“Up until Mannix, most private investigators were hard-nosed, cynical guys who lived in a seedy area and had no emotions,” Connors theorized in 1997. “Mannix got emotionally involved. He was not above being taken advantage of.”

In the first season, Joe Mannix was a self-employed Los Angeles private investigator hired by a firm that used computers and high-tech equipment to uncover crime. The ratings were lukewarm. Connors feared the series would be canceled but it was produced by Lucille Ball’s Desilu studio, and CBS was reluctant to antagonize its biggest star.

In the second season, Mannix opened his own office and combatted low-lifes by himself. The ratings zoomed.

When “Mannix” was revised the office acquired a secretary, played by African-American actress Gail Fisher.

The network was concerned that affiliates in the South might object to her character but “there wasn’t any kind of backlash,” Connors recalled.

Another highlight was the theme music by legendary screen composer Lalo Schifrin.

Connors also starred in the TV series “Tightrope!” and “Today’s FBI.” Each lasted one season.

His movie and TV career stretched from the 1950s to 2007, when he had a guest role on “Two and a Half Men.”

Connors made his film debut in 1952’s “Sudden Fear,” which starred Joan Crawford. Other films included “Island in the Sky,” ”The Ten Commandments,” and a remake of “Stagecoach.”

Connors, born Krekor Ohanian in 1925, was from an Armenian community in Fresno. He served in the Air Force during World War II and played basketball at the University of California, Los Angeles.

After graduation he studied law for two years but his good looks and imposing presence attracted him to acting. In an era when film actors were given names like Tab and Rock, he appeared as Touch Connors — “Touch” being his basketball nickname. He later changed it to Michael and finally, Mike.

Connors and his wife, Mary Lou, were married in 1949 and had two children: a son, Matthew, and a daughter, Dana. Their son, beset by hallucinations starting in his teens, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and before his death lived in a small residential care facility. Connors and his wife championed efforts to erase the stigma of mental illness.

In addition to his wife, daughter and son-in-law, Connors is survived by a granddaughter, Cooper Wills.

___

The late Associated Press writer Bob Thomas contributed biographical material to this report.

We humans always seem to make the passing of time with a New Year, with the hope that Death will do the same.

But, he never stops.

There have been others, Mary Tyler Moore being the most notable.

But my high school TV years were filled with shows like Mission Impossible.

And Mannix.

For me, Mannix filled the generational gap between 77 Sunset Strip and Magnum.

This was Mike Connors image, even though he did other things.

He even did a show where he was named Ohanian – his real Armenian name – but it didn’t take.

He once quipped as Mannix he was hit on the head something like 57 times, but always came back.  Maybe PIs should be issued safety helmets?

Godspeed, Mike.  R.I.P.

Helen Rawls RIP

Tempus Fugit

Helen Rawls is a childhood memory.               Helen Rawls Obituary

Jim (about who was written here previously) is my oldest continuous friend.  I’ve known him since August 1960, when he was in First Grade and I in Third.  She was his mother.

Helen passed on Halloween at 97.

from her Arizona Republic obituary (in part):

…She spent the remaining years of her childhood in Indianapolis, graduated from Short Ridge High School, became a stenographer, and joined the Army. She was one of the first women (other than nurses), to be a member of the armed forces.

… Helen was active in the Community Christian Church, as a member of the ASU Faculty Wives and the League of Women Voters. She was also a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, tutored at local schools, and worked with various other charities. She lived the last 29 years of her life at Friendship Village Tempe.

Services are at Friendship Village Health Care Center – 2525 E. Southern Ave. Tempe, on Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 2:30 pm. Contributions can be made to a charity of your choice , in Helen’s name.

Until I read the above, I’d not known she had been in the Army.  She was my friend’s mom.  And a fine woman.  She was pre-deceased by her husband Bill, who had been a physics professor at A.S.U. in 1996.

Bill had served in the Navy.  My thanks to you both for your service.

Helen and Bill were the most functional family on the block.  (Obviously, an improvement over my dysfunctional family!)  Raised quality kids, participated in church and civic affairs, recycled before it was cool.  I knew Helen as just one of the housewives on the block.

Hardly just!

I’m glad they are together now.

 

Rose Mofford RIP

roseRose Mofford, the last ‘beloved’ politician in Arizona (per Arizona Republic columnist Ed Montini), passed yesterday at age 94.

A Democrat, she spent her life in public service.  Born in Globe, a mining town to the East of Phoenix, she was an All-American softball player in high school, and turned down an offer to play professional basketball with The All-American Red Heads.  She married (and subsequently divorced) a Phoenix Police Captain.  They remained friends.

She became a secretary to the State Treasurer, then secretary to the Secretary of State.  Ultimately, she was elected to that office, then became Governor upon impeachment of embattled Governor Evan Mecham.

She chose not to run for office at the end of her term, and retired to private life. (above via Wikipedia)

She was famous for being professional, personable, and answering her own telephone.  And that ubiquitous beehive hairdo!

I had a run-in with her one day.  Or rather she with me.  🙂

I was at the Arizona Department of Transportation (this was during my career as a private investigator) and opted to cross Jefferson St. (a very busy thoroughfare @ 19th Ave. and Jefferson), by jaywalking!

Just before I reached the other side of the street, a car turned East onto Jefferson and began accelerating.

Into me!

I clapped my hands onto the hood to get the driver’s attention (and to pretend I could actually stop the car) and looked up in fear.

The driver was Rose Mofford!  She was Arizona’s Secretary of State at the time.  She smiled broadly at me, and mouthed ‘I’m sorry’.  I mouthed back,‘that’s okay’, and she drove on.

I understand she supported reasonable gun control (whatever that is).  Being a Democrat, I’m not surprised.

She remains a symbol for a kinder, gentler time in Arizona politics.

She will be missed.

RIP, Rosie!

It’s That Day, Again

First, please pray for the innocent victims and injured, if that’s what you do…

So many people were affected by 9/11.

Not all were the first targets and responders.

Here is one story:

debralee scott

Debralee Scott

Ms. Scott is probably familiar to many of you, especially if you lived in the 70’s.  She was ubiquitous – on TV shows such as Mary Hartman Mary Hartman, Welcome Back Kotter, Ryan’s Hope, and movies like American Grafitti and Earthquake.  I remember her guesting on The Mike Douglas Show, wherein she shared she was the (uncredited) dead nude body of murder victim Anne Mary Deacon – as she was lifted from her shallow grave, in Dirty Harry!

Being (mostly) single, and in my 20’s during the 70’s, I always found her attractive.  So this part of her story saddens me.

Ironically, she died in Florida shortly after moving there from New York City to help an ailing sister. One day she collapsed and was in a coma for several days but awoke in the hospital and seemed to be fine for a spell. She was released two days later on her birthday. No explanation was given for the coma, but she seemed fine and in good spirits. Three days later she went to take a nap and never woke up. Cause of death uncertain despite an autopsy. She was cremated.

(…)

Her fiancé had been killed in the 9/11 attacks.

The mother of her fiancé said Scott developed a drinking disorder shortly after the the 9/11 atrocities. She says, “Debralee has cirrhosis of the liver from her drinking.” The actress’ sister Jerri Scott adds, “She never did get over Dennis’ death.”. (IMDB)

Slow suicide?

We got the bastard, and many of his crew for the terrorist attacks.  But, are still fighting wars police actions overseas contingency operations against the forces who are determined to topple Western Civilization and establish a caliphate, with all the fundamentalist Muslim trappings.  Including Sharia Law.

How does one fight a war against a radical philosophy hiding within a religion, with no geographic boundaries?

We owe it to The Republic, the 2996 people killed directly, those killed indirectly, the injured, and their loved ones to find a way to stop this poison once-and-for-all!

Not to do so dishonors their memories.

REMEMBER!

9-11-fade

 

Hugh O’Brian RIP

Okay, 2016, enough already!

Another one of my childhood icons, Hugh O’Brian, passed yesterday…

He was 91.

For those too young to be baby-boomers, he was Wyatt Earp in the TV series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp 1955-1961.

When the Western was King.

(Yeah, he didn’t sport a mustache, and didn’t truck with hookers on the show, I know!)

(from Wikipedia)

O’Brian first attended school at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, then the (now defunct) Kemper Military School in Booneville, Missouri. He lettered in football, basketball, wrestling, and track. O’Brian dropped out of the University of Cincinnati after one semester to enlist in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. At seventeen, he became the youngest Marine drill instructor.

(…)

Hugh O’Brian dedicated much of his life to the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY), a non-profit youth leadership development program for high school scholars. HOBY sponsors 10,000 high school sophomores annually through its over 70 leadership programs in all 50 states and 20 countries. Since its inception in 1958, over 435,000 young people have participated in HOBY-related programs.

One high school sophomore from every high school in the United States, referred to as an “ambassador,” is welcome to attend a state or regional HOBY seminar. From each of those seminars, students (number based on population) are offered the opportunity to attend the World Leadership Congress (WLC). In 2008, over 500 ambassadors attended from all 50 states and 20 countries. The concept for HOBY was inspired in 1958 by a nine-day visit O’Brian had with famed humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer in Africa. Dr. Schweitzer believed “the most important thing in education is to teach young people to think for themselves.”

O’Brian’s message to young people is “Freedom to Choose” as explained in an essay on the topic:

I do NOT believe we are all born equal. Created equal in the eyes of God, yes, but physical and emotional differences, parental guidelines, varying environments, being in the right place at the right time, all play a role in enhancing or limiting an individual’s development. But I DO believe every man and woman, if given the opportunity and encouragement to recognize their potential, regardless of background, has the freedom to choose in our world. Will an individual be a taker or a giver in life? Will that person be satisfied merely to exist or seek a meaningful purpose? Will he or she dare to dream the impossible dream? I believe every person is created as the steward of his or her own destiny with great power for a specific purpose, to share with others, through service, a reverence for life in a spirit of love.

— Hugh O’Brian, The Freedom to Choose[10]
When I get depressed, and think the Hollywood crowd consists primarily of self-centered leftist morons, I remember there are folks out there who have dedicated their lives not only to entertainment, but the betterment of others.
Hugh O’Brien is one of those folks.
And now he’s gone.
RIP, Sir!  And thank you!
hugh

Jon Polito RIP

(It’s said it comes in threes.  Guess it all depends on when one begins counting, and what the criterion are…)

You all know me and my love of character actors.  Mr. Polito first appeared on my radar in the wonderful 80’s TV show Crime Story, as a third lead mobster versus Dennis Farina and his major crimes crew.   (Any resemblance of the show’s character to Sam Giancana was purely coincidental, I’m sure…)

Later, it was Miller’s Crossing, Homicide: Life On The Street, Barton Fink, The X Files and many other shows and films.

Almost always playing some flavor of wiseguy.  Oh, he played in THAT, too!  He played cops, too (as mob-cast guys often do!)

Turned out he was distantly related to a friend of mine here locally with the same last name!  I’m sorry for your loss.

Your gruff voice and persona will certainly be missed!

jon polito

 

 

 

Gene Wilder, RIP

It is with a truly heavy heart that I post this.

Gene Wilder, dead at 83

The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and so many others…

I still have a wooden dollar, commemorating my going to the Arizona premiere of Blazing Saddles – somewhere.

While I am no longer married (although my ex and I remain dear friends), I do have the distinct memory of asking her of doing me the honor of being my wife, after asking her to turn down the sound on the TV so I wouldn’t be interrupted.

We were watching Silver Streak at the time.

It’s said it was Alzheimer’s disease…

At least he can now be with his beloved wife, Gilda Radner.

RIP,  funny and talented man!

Addendum – my sincerest apologies to the current Ms. Wilder.  Gene remarried after the passing of Gilda, and she loved him for another 25 years.  I’m sorry for your loss.

 

NICE

What more can be said regarding the terrorist attack in the South of France?  What do we know?  A Tunisian emigre, armed with one pistol, two fake assault rifles.  And a fake grenade.  And a truck.  Chose to use the 19 ton refrigerated truck as an ‘assault vehicle’.

84 dead, another 202 injured.

And while he didn’t use either the real or fake weaponry, in largely gun-prohibited France, it took the usual solution – a call to the men with guns to stop the terrorist.

ISIS claimed responsibility.

I see two solutions here.  One short term, and a second longer.

  1. Allow the French citizenry to arm themselves.
  2. Severely restrict or cease entirely immigration from Muslim countries.  And deport those already in country who have not been carefully vetted.

AND, promote doing the same in all other nations, including the United States!

Before it is too late.

Of course, this will never happen.  Especially here, where illegal aliens make up as much as 33% of the service industry work force.

I heard on the ‘news’ the other night that one-half of one percent (0.5%) of Islamic folk are estimated to be radicalizedThis translates to one million people World-wide!

Imagine if this were a regular army?

Instead, they are agents-provocateurs (agents of change – outside agitators in the very least)!  Community Organizers?

Saboteurs and terrorists.

Free people need to be able to defend themselves.  Period.

Two folks are sitting adjacent in a jumbo jet, flying over the South of France.
One looks out the window and remarks, “That’s Nice.”  –  Bennett Cerf

(Apologies.  This is GUFFAW in AZ, after all.  Had to lighten the mood.)

No Criminal Intent?

So, no indictment will be recommended by the FBI to the DOJ of presumable candidate (former) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

This is my shocked face.

face ironic

The FBI Director’s statement regarding ‘no intent’, of course is bogus.  Petraeus had no intent.  The Espionage statute specifically says intent is not required.

The fix is in.

The Clinton Machine, and their ill-gotten millions, remain in force.

And the only other real choice is a populist demagogue.

Be Afraid, America!

Federal Law Title 18 Section 2071

Pay no attention to the federal statute above, or the serial rapist behind the curtain!

All we have left is the Libertarian Party.  And they’ll be lucky to get 1.5% of the popular vote!

americanflag

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…