Thursday, April 30, 2015

Doc Holliday Movie by Bill O'Reilly

So, Mr. O'Reilly has ventured into the Western movie market with his Legends or Lies book and movie series. I watched Doc Holliday Saturday evening and can't say much for it. Done in black and white, which is okay, but the sound overrode the voices in parts of it, too much background noise. He does give a quick biography of the gambler, but not very complete. With all there is to tell about Doc's life, it's too much to crowd into an hour movie. He was fairly thorough on Doc's life with Wyatt Earp and the big shootout at the OK corral (a lie as to its location as he pointed out). And he does a nice bit on the dentist Doc and the TB.

Overall I would give him a seven on the scale of one to ten for this one. I missed Jesse James, but it will probably be shown again and I'm looking forward to Kit Carson. From the ad, I think it will be a little more to my liking.

I enjoyed the Kit Carson movie, although there wasn't much action in it. Of course, Carson didn't have too many times to face off against old enemies or card cheaters like the Doc or Wild Bill Hickock. I finally learned why the Navajo tribe hated him. In the bio I have of him written in 1885, it doesn't mention it. He was ordered to round up the Navajos and lead them in their "Long Walk", the 300 miles to a reservation in New Mexico. He was just following orders of a U. S. Army officer, and he had many regrets afterward. Not much was made of General Kearney ordering him to return to California from delivering messages to Washington, D.C., nor was Kearney's disastrous battle in California made much of. This one was more entertaining than Doc Holliday. 

Kit Carson was followed by Wild Bill Hickok. This episode, I liked even more. It takes us on a short trip over Hickok's life from the time he saved a young Bill Cody until his death. He was shot in the back of the head while playing poker in Deadwood by a person who lost his money to him earlier. Hickok had an adventurous life with all the people trying to kill him because he was a celebrity lawman off and on. Buffalo Bill Cody offered him a job with the Wild West show when he ran across him in a drunken and broke condition, but he didn't stay around long. He worked for the Pony Express in his younger days as everyone knows. I thought O'Reilly did a better job of covering Hickok.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Forthcoming Novel, Bitter Creek, by Peter Bowen

Bitter Creek tells the story of another massacre of the Indians that takes place in 1910 near the fictional town of Toussaint in Montana. This time, the people killed are Metis (descendants of French-Canadian and American Indian parents) and the story is told from a present day perspective. No one in Toussaint is alive when the killings took place, but there are rumors and whisperings floating around about the tragedy. Gabriel DuPre sets out to find who the killers were, assisted by his two friends, Patchen and Chappie, both badly injured in the War in Iraq. There are twists and turns that take DuPre and friends on a wild ride through local history and persons who don't want them to find out the real truth and people who do. Plenty of mystery and suspense in this one published by Open Road Integrated Media.

Not having read anything by Peter Bowen that I recall, I found the story to be humorous, exciting, and detailed in its descriptions of the landscape and types of people involved. There was one survivor of the massacre, a young girl name of Amalie who is now over a hundred years old and is in a nursing home in Canada. To talk to her long enough, they had to sign her out of the home and bring her back to Toussaint where they could do it at leisure, which turned out to be quite an adventure. Along with Amalie, the other characters in the story, guilty or not, are well-described and add much to the goings-on. Gabriel DuPre has plenty to deal with, a couple of killings and trips to Washington, D. C. and Seattle before he finally wraps up the mystery.

It was one of the most interesting books I've read in a while and highly recommend it to anyone who likes mysteries and the West, definitely a five-star rating from me. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

More from Memoirs, One Place and Another

Chief Petty Officer Jones (not his real name) was one of those characters you meet along the way during a naval career. He came along as we checked into a hotel in Madrid prior to reporting to our duty station. The chief had been in the Navy close to thirty years by then and considered this to be his last station before retiring to civilian life. Among the chiefs I had known, he was not the brightest bulb in the garden, but he was easy to get along with. One of his favorite sayings was, "That's what they do" and never explained who "they" were. If anything was changed or something new introduced, he would say "That's what they do," no matter the reason or subject, as if whoever made the change did it purposely to confuse everyone, e.g., if there was an increase in your tax withholding, "that's what they do to make sure you don't have enough to live on, or so you don't get all the last pay increase. They want to keep you dependent," or something else.

Chief "Jones" had been married to a woman that he divorced not too long berfore he was ordered to
Spain, and most of his pay went to support her kids from a previous marriage or marriages. We spent some off-duty time together occasionally, but later on he took a 30-day leave and returned to Kansas, his home State. When he came back to Madrid, he told me he had remarried, this time to a woman who had 10 or 12 kids. Asked why, he said he had known the woman for some time and he thought he was in love with her, besides he received more money for support of all those kids. To his way of thinking, he was walking in tall cotton and he was working all the angles to get as much money as he could. His wife and kids stayed in Kansas. I still wonder how long they stayed married.

On a trip to Kansas, we stopped in Olathe to see if we could find him. And we found a person with the same name in the phone book, so I gave him a call: Hello, hello. I'm looking for a retired Navy Chief with this name and who said he lived in Olathe. He retired from the Navy a few years ago. "Well, that's my name, all right, but I retired from the Marine Corps. I don't think I'm the person you're looking for."  Sorry to disturb you and have a nice day. It wasn't his voice, either, so I'm still wondering even now, even though I'm sure he has kicked the bucket. It's one of those nagging little things "they" do.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Another Excerpt oomr my Unpubished Memoir, One Place and Another

In the summer of 1939 or 1940, two of my friends and I were playing around the storage building out behind the church house, climbing in and out of the coal bin, which didn't have a roof. Getting tired of that, we checked out the outhouses which were open all the time and read the poetry and such written on the walls in the men's side: "here I sit, all brokenhearted. . .etc." We had a good laugh from the gross humor and went looking around the locked storage area of the building where extra chairs and such were stored. Noticing under the eaves a bird's nest with a couple of young sparrows or finches in it,  my companions boosted me up to take a good look. I reached into the nest and picked up one of the young tweeters that had grown feathers. The problem with this was, the nest was alive with lice and they started crawling up my arm by the hundreds. I dropped to the ground quick and started brushing them off and running toward home. I told my mother I had lice real bad. I took off my shirt and she doused my upper limbs and under arms with kerosene until she couldn't see anymore lice. She told me to go to the canal and wash off the kerosene before I catch on fire. We ran to the canal, where we stood on the bank and I cleaned myself up with fresh water from the stream, one of my friends helping me.

While we were washing off the kerosene, one friend wandered away. We started looking for him and found him floating in the middle of the canal, belly down and head under water. My cousin (the other friend) ran across the canal on a flume and tried to reach him from the bank, but he was too far out in the stream. Fifty yards downstream there was a log across the canal which was used by kids cutting through the fields to attend school. I ran as fast as I could and got in the center of the log where I was able to catch the boy by the shirt collar and arm and hold him until my cousin could help me drag him to the bank. We laid him belly down in the dirt by an old barn wall. He was unconscious, so we decided to push down on his back and ribs to push out the water he had consumed. Luckily, this worked as water started to come out of his mouth. After a couple of minutes, he coughed up some more water and started to get his color back. He laid there a while before he suddenly sat up and thanked us for saving him from drowning. He said he had slipped and fell in and couldn't regain his footing. He rose to his feet finally and said he was going home but wouldn't tell his mother about his narrow escape because she would give him a whipping. He was killed by a horse later on, at least that was what I was told. I never saw my cousin or him again after we moved away.

I didn't get along well with this boy who nearly drowned. He was always hanging around the schoolyard, because his mother told him to go play to get him out of the house. He was an only child, and his widowed mother had a lot of visitors, mainly men. My father hinted one time that she "could make a little money that way," but I didn't understand it at the time. One summer, this kid was playing around the schoolyard and we got into an argument and commenced to discuss the problem physically instead of mentally. I threw him on the ground a couple of times and told him to leave me alone. This got tiresome, so I took off running to get away from him. He caught up with me and I threw him down again and sat on him to teach him a lesson. I got up and started walking away. He tackled me from behind, and before I could turn over he was sitting on my shoulders holding my head between his knees. Try as I might, I couldn't dislodge him. So, I had to give up in disgrace. He finally got off me and took off for home. My ego was a little bruised, so I went home and told my mother about it. She wasn't too sympathetic, saying, "You shouldn't be fighting anyway!"  

Monday, April 13, 2015

Down Memory Lane

Here's an excerpt from my Unpublished Memoirs, One Place and Another, Reflections of a Childhood in the Country and Life in the Navy:

One of my uncles came calling on us one day. He came into town to help someone do some haying or such and stopped to chat with my mother with his two horses in harness. After a short visit, he said he was headed on home. My brother and I (about 6 and 8 years old) begged him to let us ride the horses to his house. He must have grown tired of us begging him for a ride, since we always did when we saw him with a horse. He said, "All right you little devils, you asked for it" and boosted us on to one of the horses. We started off to his farm a couple of miles south in clay basin, happy as we could be. After about a mile, our little hind ends began to get sore from riding bareback and we asked him to let us down, we'd had enough. He said, "No sir. You've been asking for this a long time and you're going to ride right there all the way home."

Another quarter-mile and we were really sore, but he still wouldn't let us off. "You stay there 'til we git home, or I'll whip both of you good," he threatened. We finally made it to his house, but we didn't hang around after he took us off the horse. When we were out of sight of him on our way home, we checked our bottoms and they were blistered and painful.

When we reached home, my father said, "Serves you both right for begging him to let you ride. You should know better than that."

We never asked to ride his horses again and we never forgot his cruelty either. There was some bad blood betwixt my uncle and my father for some reason unbeknownst to us. Now, looking back on it, I think it was the fact that Uncle _______ had his eye on my mother for romantic reasons. In later years, some of the comments from the uncle made it clear to me that it was a fact, him having the eye. He was married to my mother's sister and later on after my aunt and my father had passed away, he married my mother.  After the marriage, he was a little more civil to us as grownups, but I always detected a feeling of dislike for my father that carried over to us.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

An Average Day

Like I indicated a few days ago, some days are better than others and today is not one of those days.
It hasn't been a complete loss, because I've cleared out most of my e-mail. The ones remaining are the important ones that I need to actually read and even do something about possibly. But, I can't get too excited about it. An average day runs something like this:

Roll out of the sack between 4:30 and 6:00 AM.
Drink coffee and watch TV news. I don't want to miss any important happenings, so the TV is on local news for a while before switching to Fox usually until about 7-7:30.
Hit the shower and dress for the day.
Have another cup of coffee, maybe.
Breakfast at Maria's after that, sometime between 8 and 9:30 with a selection of biscuits and gravy half order, waffle, half-waffle with sausage or bacon, Western omelette, or pancakes and bacon, or even a bowl of oatmeal with toast.
Filled to the brim by 10:00 and it's off to the store, nail parlor (wife), grocery store (wife), garage sale (wife), estate sale (wife), yard sale (wife) on occasion or go home and clean house, or turn on the computer.
Lunch sometimes at home or out somewhere between 11 and 1 or 1:30 even 2:00 PM sometimes.
Home again doing computer stuff like writing , e-mail, research, etc.
At 3 or 4 o'clock, break for dinner. Go watch a great-grandson play baseball 'til around 9 PM a couple nights a week.
Home to bed by 9 or ten.

Retirement is exciting isn't it. This weekend will be busy with an HOA lunch on Saturday and our Easter family get-together a week late this year on Sunday.

It's enough to put you to sleep.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Washington, DC, Building

All a swabby knew of this building back in the 1950's was, it was a Post Office that sat on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Fourteenth Street and where the bus from the Pentagon stopped on its route in and out of town. The building was adjacent to the IRS Building and across the street from the old Smithsonian Museum. This particular, young, handsome swabby removed himself from the bus in front of the Post Office nearly every time he came into town and never paid much attention to the old, gray, marble building. The swabby had his mind on other things as he climbed off the bus, like a cold beer or an occasional movie. The last time he rode that bus was in the early 1960's when he flew in from Miami and visited the Pentagon on a personal errand. He remembered the times he waited on the cold steps to catch the bus. There were a few times after too many quaffs at the beer fountain the sailor missed the last bus to the Pentagon and waited all night, trying to make himself comfortable and catch a short nap or two there on the steps waiting for the first morning bus, the only person around at that time of night.

Now, the old swabby on wobbly sea legs sat in his chair and watched the boob box squawk away about this building that Donald Trump had acquired and was renovating it into one of his fancy hotels. Mister Trump was giving Greta Van Susteren a tour of the renovations from the lobby to the old conference room and a room of the hotel to the tower and up and down. Trump said there were nineteen floors, but having never counted them or didn't give a damn, the building always appeared   smaller. That was the first time the old swabby had ever heard exactly how tall it was and he still didn't give a damn. He did remember going by there early in the morning on a Greyhound Bus, snow about a foot-and-a-half deep on Inauguration Day of President John F. Kennedy. He was on his way to Baltimore to get out of town and the crowds and have a good time drinking some Rolling Rock and flirting with the girls on East Baltimore Street.

Greta cracked a joke about the view you would have from the new hotel of the IRS Building, just what a person would want to see, and they both laughed. Trump's laugh was more of a chuckle, while Greta cracked up.

The Post Office building was the headquarters of the mail system back then. Hell, thought the sailor, he didn't even know that. He actually went into the lobby one time to drop off a letter to someone somewhere, but that was the furthest he got to actually seeing the inside and he wasn't very impressed by what he did see.

When Trump gets his renovation completed and opens up the new hotel, is when the old sailor will be impressed. Now, if he could only afford a room for a week for old times sake. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding

Henry Fielding (1707-1754) was an English writer, author of Joseph Andrews, Tom Thumb,Tom Jones, and Amelia. He also wrote plays that were produced in Drury Lane.

Joseph Andrews is written in the style of Cervantes wherein there are many words of description and twists and turns and discourses that are slight diversions from the main story as he relates the life and times of Joseph and his true love, Fanny Goodwill. The curate, Mister Abraham Adams, is the narrator. Joseph finds himself unemployed after he is released from service as Lady Booby's footman, having been caught in her arms one day.

There is an awful lot of walking as Adams makes his way from one place to another and even finds himself beaten up by highwaymen who lie to the Justice of the Peace in making Adams the culprit who robbed them. Joseph gets robbed by the same highwaymen and left naked in the bushes, and who comes along in her carriage to save him?\None other than Lady Booby who is put in shock when she hears that Joseph was left nekkid and bruised. She won't let him in the carriage in that state. Adams comes along and saves him with some an overcoat from one of the Lady's footmen. They are left to their own devices as the carriage takes off. They run across an inn and the lady offers to take care of the sore Joseph. As the story moves on, Adams gets lost in the country and takes a while to find his way back.

With all the ups and downs, arguments and discussions, and throw Fanny Goodwill into the mix, it's a wonder that the novel ever comes to an end. And before it does, Joseph finds out that Fanny, who he is deeply in love with and she him, may be his long lost sister. Oh, the sorrow on finding this out. Or, is she really his sister? And how about his other sister, Pamela?

Fielding gets this all straightened out finally and Lady Booby lives happily ever after, I think.

I really, really enjoy novels and writing like this, even though it is out of date in style and uses many, too many words with all the looks away and diversions. It reminds me of the Fanny Hill movie even though the movie was based on a John Cleland novel written in about the same time period and The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones movie based on Fielding's novel Tom Jones. Both movies and this book were hilarious to me.