This category contains 101 posts

The 300

No, not THOSE 300 (the Spartans – “Molon Labe”, etc.)

Those of you who have read this blog for more than a week (poor bast***s) know me well enough to know I was raised on TV and movies.  I’m still hooked, and love nothing more than wasting my time in front of the idiot box selecting from either live television or the DVR.

Besides, I cannot afford to do much else.

And television has evolved from my childhood in the 50’s (3, 4 or 5 channels, shutting down at night with The National Anthem, followed by a ‘test pattern’ – youngsters, ask anyone born before 1960!) to a multitude of cable and satellite networks broadcasting 24/7, numbering in the hundreds, visible on flat digital TVs, tablets, PCs and even smartphones.  From pretty much anywhere in the ‘civilized’ world!

Of course, much of it is crap! 😛

Didn’t Steve Martin say, “147 channels and nothing’s on.” ?

Of course, I can watch Underwater Argentinian Curling at 0300, if I choose!  (just kidding, but not by much.)

I didn’t pay much attention to the actors of my youth (except the character actors – love them!), specifically, the number.

The few shows from Hollywood, those from NYC, how many actors were in that pool in say, 1956?

Fast-forward to 2016, with all this technology, with all these networks and shows, all these choices…

How many actors in this pool?

I contend it’s roughly 300.  Because of my largely unscientific but copious viewing habits, I’ve noticed actor A on that series (lead) when that series gets cancelled, shows up on a new series (as a second lead) almost immediately!

And if THAT series gets cancelled, they magically appear in a third, almost immediately.  As a special guest.  One week, the guy’s a federal special agent, the next he’s a city cop.  And in 13 weeks (or less) he appears as a metrosexual TV reporter.

Of course, most of these folks are extremely ‘talented’, (or at least pretty people!)

Look at Ted Danson.  He began as a murdered cop in ‘The Onion Field’, Went to ‘Cheers’, then ‘CSI’, then ‘CSI Cyber’ and now ‘The Good Place’.  With lots more in between.

It just seems I keep seeing the same actors in different roles on different shows in different seasons.  Sometimes, it’s the only way I find out the previous show was cancelled!

And watching reruns makes it even more confusing.  I just watched an episode of Law & Order Criminal Intent (2001-2011), with Michael Emerson (as the main bad guy).  He has an ‘affair’ with Cara Buono, whom he ends up murdering.  (Victim #3).

Move to Person of Interest (2010-2015).  Michael Emerson is now Mr. Finch, the creator of ‘the machine’ who spies on everyone, and Cara Buono guest stars as Martine, whose job it is to assassinate Finch and his agents.  While I’m certain Mr. Emerson put in a good word with the casting folks, it further acknowledges the almost incestuous nature of the 300.

And why there are only 300.

Well, back to the idiot box…

Cara Buono

Cara Buono

Michael Emerson

Michael Emerson

I Agree With Bill Maher!

This makes two times!

Bill Maher said Donald Trump is right that the U.S. should have a profiling service that uses techniques employed by security guards in Israeli airports. The HBO host also said people already profile and that “all police work is profiling,” we just do it “stupidly.

BILL MAHER: He is for profiling, that’s what he said. But he said we should do it the way Israel does. And, like, every once in while Donald Trump says something right. Because we profile already, we just do it stupidly. All police work is profiling. Discrimination does not mean prejudice; discrimination means telling un-like things apart…

More with video @ Real Clear Politics

(from Free North Carolina)

And how weird is THAT?
Mr. Maher began as a ‘comedian’, claiming he is a ‘libertarian’, then skewed far left (one presumes to attract a bevy of leftist sycophants?)  Most of the time, he seems to agree with the progressives (“I think America needs to be dragged to gov’t healthcare, kicking and screaming if necessary.”).  He says he owns two guns, with which he practices, in case of a home invasion, but has come out for repeal of The Second Amendment!
But, as it is said of a broken clock…

Ray Donovan


click for wiki

Yep, yet another TV show to which I am addicted.

A transplanted Southie Irish guy (played by Liev Schrieber), transplanted to L.A., makes his living by being a ‘fixer’ for rich Hollywood (and other) types.

Sometimes the fix is a simple contract negotiation.  Sometimes it’s more complicated – like involving blackmail, kidnapping and murder.  Or covering up his client’s crimes.  Like murder, robbery and prostitution.

He does very well with it, too.  Mercedes CLS 550.  Nice house.  Kids in private schools.

Of course, it’s never as easy at all that.  A history of killing the priest who molested he and his brother.  A wife with breast cancer.  Teen kids acting out.  Currently, he’s pissed off the Russian mob.  And he has an ex-con father (Jon Voight) who has his own criminal agenda and cannot seem to stay out of jail.

And the FBI is on his ass!

So, many times, HE becomes his own client!

It’s on Showtime, and next week is it’s 4th Season finale. (It’s also available on You Tube and other venues).

It has the usual extreme violence, sex and language.  If you are easily offended, you might stay away.  (FTC – Neither Showtime or the production folks give me anything.  I would accept a Mercedes from Mr. Schreiber, if he offered!  :-)  )

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!

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




Mr. Crayola

I’m no artist.  Cannot draw/paint/sculpt to save my life.  Lucky to be able to sketch a short straight line if needed, usually crooked.  (I can sing (moderately) – but, is my singing ART?)

Because of this, I’ve a great appreciation for true artists, people like my college roommate Dave – who has been making art since he could walk.  And the classical artists – Leonardo, Michaelangelo and such.  Modern folks not-so-much.  An exploration of random color splotches doesn’t move me as does La Giocanda.

And my understanding of art is it is to make one feel something…

My friend Doc In Yuma sent me a collection of art (via email) which did move me.  Not just because of the skill of the artist, but, because of the media used.


A few examples, and his story:

Mr. Crayola Don Marco
Don Marco, the Master Crayola Artist

Don Marco was born in Northern Minnesota in the late 1920’s. His interest in art was evident even before starting school. As a young adult in the Army Air Corp, he began his life’s career in Air Traffic Control, which continued until his retirement from Honolulu International Airport in 1973. Much of his spare time was spent as a professional artist.
Before retirement, Don started developing a technique to create fine art, using Crayola Crayons. Shortly after retiring, he published his first print. Living in Southern California, his work was in demand, including commissions from Burt Reynolds and a one-man show at his Dinner Theater in Florida …

It’s hard to imagine these are done with crayons!
Burt Reynolds

Mr. Crayola | LETVENT.COM

Mr. Crayola | LETVENT.COM

Mr. Crayola | LETVENT.COM


Story Don Marco..... The Master Crayola Artist

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.


It’s BA-ACK! (Almost)

There are a number of items that have come and gone during my adult life as a ‘gunnie’.  The Snik holster, and The Randall (Mirror-Image) Left-Handed 1911 are two examples.

A third would be the Auto-Mag.  An early effort to put revolver-powered cartridges into a semiautomatic frame.  With a larger capacity, of course. 🙂

As with it’s revolver counterparts (the S&W Model 29 and Colt Anaconda) it’s designed primarily for hunting.  But you know some fools (and larger folks) will carry them concealed.

Because they can!

The Firearm Blog had this, recently (in part):


If you’re even passingly familiar with Clint Eastwood’s portrayal of Dirty Harry then you’re also familiar with his trademark .44 Magnum (the – at the time – so-called most powerful handgun in the world). And if you’re familiar with “Sudden Impact”, the fourth movie in the Dirty Harry series, maybe you also know about the Auto Mag. Or perhaps you know about the Auto Mag because it’s a badass pistol we’ve been promised another chance at more than once since its movie heyday. So where do things stand as of now?

First, a little company-related background. The original Auto Mag went out of production more than three decades ago. Manufacturing costs apparently outweighed sales profits which eventually led to the pistol’s initial demise which led to a revival as a collector’s item complete with higher price tag. Many attempts were made to keep the gun on the market but in 1982, it all came to a grinding halt. Then, last year, a private investor decided to get involved. They purchased the rights, plans, and even leftover components before setting to work bringing back the Auto Mag. Now, as we edge into the fall of 2016, it looks as though progress has indeed been made.

As of August 2016, Auto Mag is an officially registered trademark. The company is offering the lucky devils who already own Auto Mags their refurbishing services and caliber conversion kits will be offered soon as well. What calibers? We don’t know yet, but you can be sure we’ll let you know when we do. As for future Auto Mag owners, your day will come once the prototype is complete. Firearm manufacturing has come a long way since 1982 in more than a few ways, meaning the new company has to take everything into consideration from metallurgy to machining.

One good move Auto Mag has made is the choice to bring Laura Burgess Marketing (LBM) in to handle the media and marketing side. Marketing matters far more than many people realize – more than even some companies even seem to comprehend – and LBM is a solid choice. LBM will undoubtedly do their part to spread awareness of the pistol’s impending resurrection and will also keep us in the loop regarding future developments.

I don’t expect to see this pistol hit production-ready status until year’s end, but it’s worth the wait. I, for one, am looking forward to trying my hand at the Auto Mag. Who’s with me?

You can keep an eye on the Auto Mag by visiting this link:

Some years back, Jeff Cooper was asked what would be the purpose of making such a firearm.  His answer?  To sell, of course!

RIP Steven Hill

(You know me and character actors.)steven hill

I first saw Steven Hill in an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour entitled ‘The Thanatos Palace Hotel’. A place where suicidal folk could go to be murdered. 😨

Following that, I was at home in  bed recovering from the onset of my leg disability. Watched a lot of TV. And the show ‘Mission Impossible’ premiered.

I WAS HOOKED! Both on the show’s premise and the MI team’s head honcho, Dan Briggs.

Played by Stephen Hill.

He left after the first season, because he refused to work Saturday, being an Orthodox Jew.

Later, he was a District Attorney on Law & Order.  And was also memorable.

(Sandwiching many, many other shows in-between!)

RIP Sir! 

Taking Out A Sentry

So, a guy walks up to a sentry and asks, “Hi, sentry, new in town?”

Back-in-the-day, when I was young and foolish (I’m not so young, anymore) I used to read Soldier Of Fortune magazine.  (In addition to Shotgun News, Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Guns Magazine and pretty much every firearms periodical I could find!)  This was before they were sued for facilitating a hitman in their classifieds, and LTC Robert Brown (founder and publisher – U.S.Army-Retired) reportedly discharged a 1911 underwater at a Scottsdale resort pool.  Just to see if it would function.  Rumor was some alcohol was involved.

For me, being unable to get into the military, I was, as Brown described it, truly an armchair adventurer.

And, unlike Playboy’s centerfold (that used to be nude women – sigh), SOF had a centerfold with a different focus.  Sentry removal.

I’m certain Michael Echanis, premier martial arts editor, had something to do with the content.

It would illustrate techniques like the Turkish twist, and judiciously-lethal dagger placement, as though all the readership had been to the CIA’s ‘Farm’ or Ranger School.

Like we were all spec-ops assassins just aching to ‘take out a sentry’, silently.

Of course, we weren’t, but enjoyed reading such macho fodder, nevertheless.

And we’d do the joke about ‘taking out’ sentries whenever a new issue arrived on the newsstand.

And absorb tales of mercenaries world-wide, new gun reviews, read about the latest in electronic surveillance gear, U.S. and foreign military actions and macho TV and movies.

Mike Echanis died in a plane crash en route training in Central America.  And more lawsuits continued.

April 2016 was the last paper edition of SOF.  It continues to be available online.

I’ve not read it regularly for some years.  For me, just getting out of the armchair requires effort enough.  Forget adventure or sentries.sof

FTC – I bought my own.  Get your own!


"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…