Apr. 22nd, 2013 09:09 pm
meirwen_1988: (tea comfort)
I'm watching House of Cards and Kevin Spacey's character is working out on the gym his wife (who was Buttercup in Princess Bride) bought him. It makes me think of his character in American Beauty working out because he has a crush on his daughter's cheerleader best friend. Strange connections are strange.

Today a friend I've never met, but wish I had, Deborah, posted about the loss of her beloved German Shepherd, Oka ( and then shortly thereafter about the loss of Cleopatra (, and my beloved Ekat lost her Alex this week ( I had the privilege of spending the weekend with Ekat, and on Sunday morning she said of Miss Alex, who was first and foremost Nikodemus's cat (Niki, the much beloved who left us too soon), "If she had a 'human' it was probably you." On Saturday my friend Linda lost her mother, Iris. Today she took the train to her mother's service, and took the train home, to her waiting husband, where they returned to their new home, much of which is still in boxes, as they've been there less than a week.

In recent months friends have lost homes, parents, pets, jobs.

Each of these losses is equally profound, and entirely different. I know this, because I have lost, at various points, all of them. While the point of origin is different, the point of impact feels the same. It is devastating, each in it's own, particular way. One removes our security, one removes our history, on removes our sense of self-reliance, one removes our faith that we can care for others. And yet, none of them do those things.

Because one lose our job, it doesn't mean we lose the ability to care for ourselves. We must find new ways, and that process is horrible in many instances, we we find a way.
Because we lose our parents doesn't mean we lose our history. We have our memories, good and bad. And we have who our parents helped use to become. Sometimes that person is flawed and broken, sometimes strong and whole. But we are ourselves, and their part in that is eternal, or mutable. Which is up to us.
Because we lose our homes it is not a failure. It is like starting a new book, both as writer and reader. It is full of possibilities.

Because we lose our pet it does not mean we have proven ourselves unworthy to care for others. We have loved them, cared for them. Given them home, and hearth. Their lives were warmer, and safer because they joined us at our fire. And if they were with us for many years, as were Oka, and Alex, and Cleopatra, they were our pack, our pride, our lives. And we were part of theirs. The food we shared (for that is what their treats were, and the food that came from our hands), the shared warmth in the cold winter, the shared sunlight, the strokes of love, the sandy kitten kisses, the exuberant puppy leaps...there is joy and life in all of that. And if, at the end, there is a gentle holding as Grizabella sings, if there are toys and biscuits waiting for the gentle healer to come for one last breath, we have not failed. We have soared. For they have had wonderful lives of love and trust. They have belonged not to us, as objects, to to "us"--that whole that is more than "me" or "mine."

When we lose a parent, it is crushing. Our foundation is pulled out from under us. That element, for many of us, that is our first memory, our anchor in pain (even when sometimes the cause of other pain), our constant--is gone. We must become our own anchor, our own constant. That is hard.

When we lose the one who we have accepted the obligation to care for, it is different. We feel a sense of loss, but we also cannot help but feel that, on some level, we have failed. We may console ourselves that they have had a longer life. A safer life. They were warm, and loved, and well-fed. They were stroked, and played with, and been our companions. We sheltered them from the storm, and delighted in the affection they offered. And yet, when they go, we wonder--did we give them enough? Were their lives as full as they would have been had they not been leashed to our lives? Did we give them all they needed? Did we fail them? And we excoriate ourselves for being too little for those who made us so much.

And I would say that parent or pet, their loss affects us the same, as we affected them the same.

It is true, without a doubt, that we have never, will never, do all we can, all we could, for those who love us, whether parent or pet, lover or child.

There will always regret--for the call not made, the gentle stroke on the fur that was not given because we were too busy. But thinking back, it is not the omissions in my life that I recall.

It is the the gentle word when I was broken. The gentle touch when I was in pain. The perfect bowl of soup. The card game that went on too long, filled with laughter and perfect joy. It is not what we did not do--it is what we did that lives in memory. The biscuit and the toys. The laying in a beloved lap and gentle touch as the music swelled. The last fleeting memory of a loving face saying "Momma." These are what matter.

It is about what we do, and how we love. Those are what remain.
meirwen_1988: (table tag)
Yesterday, while we were having dinner, the Duchezz looked over at me and said, "Who was the film guy who died today?"

I looked up from my plate, and said "Roger" and then my throat closed up, and my eyes filled, and I rasped out "Ebert."

Her eyes got big and round, and she started to apologize for asking. "I didn't know it would make you...oh, I'm sorry."

How could she have known?

I don't generally go to pieces when a celebrity dies. Oh, there is a sense of loss--of books that will never be written, performances I'll never see, music I'll never hear. And I fully expect to be a watery mess when the last of the Gibb brothers dies, though I got through the first three with barely a sniffle.

So why the pain, the tears, because a pudgy, opinionated critic from Chicago lost with dignity the fight for life he'd waged with courage and openness over the last decade? How could she have known.

I didn't.

But when I saw on my Twitter feed yesterday that he was gone, I could barely move. When friends posted something totally clueless as a comment on my FB post about it I had to stifle the urge to ban them from my feed. My reaction was visceral and passionate.

So, why?

Because he is why I do what I do.

Growing up, we were, not to put too fine a point on it, poor. Even with Daddy's job at General Electric, and the very generous medical benefits package all the union guys got, my mother and brother's health issues kept us with disposable income below the poverty line. Add to that my father's alcoholism, and both parents' nicotine addictions, and money was very tight. Plus we lived out in the middle of the country, only Daddy drove, and once he'd made the hour commute home the last thing he wanted was to take anyone anywhere except maybe a grocery store to get something for dinner (which is why dinner usually went on the table sometime around 8:30 at night). Going to the movies didn't happen.

But we watched movies on television a lot. Back in those days the networks usually had a big movie night once a week. And the local stations usually filled up the weekends with movies. And I watched them all. Everything from the B westerns and sci-fi (Oh, I still love Them!) and cheesy Steve Reeves Hercules movies with the bad dubbing to really good films, like Laura and How Green Was My Valley and The Shape of Things to Come and The Best Years of Our Lives. At night we'd watch the "big" films, like A Lion in Winter, and The Group, and Lawrence of Arabia and Anne of a Thousand Days. In black and white. With commercials. The handful of movies I saw in a theatre before the age of 16 doesn't even take two hands to count. But I loved movies. So did my parents, I think, but the surprising one was my dad.

There were some movies he wouldn't watch because of his PTSD from World War II. Anything set in the European Theatre of action was off limits. And he wasn't wild about romantic comedies (I inherited that one). Otherwise, he'd watch. But his taste was excellent. He never forgave the academy for giving the Oscar for Best Picture to Around the World in 80 Days rather than to Picnic. He was totally blown away by Duel when it premiered on the ABC Tuesday Night Movie (the series which made me believe that "made for television" films could be every bit as good as a theatrical release), and decided he'd keep track of the then-unknown director to see what else he could do. Some kid named Spielberg. Because of that, when I was in college he and my mother went to the movies (something I'd never known them to do in my entire live) to see Close Encounters of the Third Kind--and he never got over how wonderful he thought it was. He took me to see Blazing Saddles because "Mel Brooks is a genius." For my very straightlaced father, sitting next to his daughter through of the Madeline Khan scenes was not comfortable, but we survived. And it's still one of my favorite memories.

So what does any of this have to do with Roger Ebert?

I was a consumer of films. Good films, bad films, with a little nudging from my dad to respect the really fine ones.

And then along came Sneak Previews and my world changed. My then lover and I would lay in bed on Sunday mornings, drinking coffee, eating bagels, reading comic books, and watching the local PBS station. First came Dr. Who, which was lovely, if sureal to wake up to, and then Sneak Previews came on. Ed loved movies, so we would watch, and argue with the television, and make mental notes to see, or not see, something they'd reviewed. Then we'd get up and head to the campus to grade papers, or go to the library, because, well, that's what one does in grad school. But the show always stuck with me during the day.

Truth to be told, I always "liked" Gene more. I found Roger harsh, argumentative, and not very "nice." But the way he, even more than Gene, talked about movies made a world open up to me that I'd never known existed. He dug into films with passion (because he loved them) and intellect. He could break them down into their pieces to see how they all came together, but more how the pieces worked on those of us in the seats, and how the choices the filmmakers made could triumph or wreck havoc. He treated films with great seriousness, but was never stuffy, but more, he and Gene treated those of us who watch films as important, and deserving of a good experience, and smart. I started to ask of movies the same questions I was supposed to be asking about the books I was studying as an English Lit grad student--and found the answers as complex, and the texts as rewarding. When I started work on my Ph.D. I found a way to make movies as important in my projects and papers as the written literature, and my dissertation proposal was about how texts metamorphose in adaptation, with the intention of digging into the philosophical questions of the role of medium and story and whether even an entirely faithful adaptation is in fact the same story since our aesthetic response is so very different depending on the medium through which we receive it. Heady stuff. And in the film classes I took, from truly good professors, and the critics I read (all the big ones, and then some), the voice I heard in my head was Roger Ebert's. Pushing me to dig deeper, ask harder questions, because I loved movies, and they were worth all that time and energy.

So now, I teach film. Because of him I tell my students with confidence that it's alright to love a popcorn film. To not enjoy an "important" film. But that they have to know why they are reacting the way they are. They have to respect the work that went into even the worst movie, and that, ultimately, movies are for us. Because of Roger Ebert.

Roger Ebert died yesterday. I never sent him a fan letter. Never told him he was the mentor of who I became as a thinker about this wonderful art of the moving image. But he is.
meirwen_1988: (1977)
  • Born March 3, 1923 to Geneva (nee Hardy) and Leo Thomas Mink.
  • His own father died in 1926.
  • A straight A student in parochial school, with dreams of becoming a lawyer, he dropped out of school at 14 to go to work to support his mother (whose second husband had just died, leaving her, my father, and his half sister Donna). When he could, he worked as a jockey's apprentice, hoping to follow his father into the silks.
  • Starting in 1941 he tried to enlist in the Army Air Force and in the Navy, but his mother refused to sign the enlistment papers (she was sure, given his size, he'd end up an aerial gunner, which had a high mortality rate). She really didn't want him to serve, but especially didn't want him to end up in the Infantry.
  • In 1943 he was drafted--into the Infantry.
  • Where he was a Marksman, and scout. He was supposed to be on Omaha beach on June 6, but his unit got different orders just before they left. Probably why I'm here today.
  • He was injured by shrapnel in his knee while in Belgium. He got a Purple Heart, and his dreams of a life on horseback died.
  • He left the service in 1948 with that Purple Heart, and a Bronze Star.
  • He got a job in Ilion, NY shortly after separation (a hardship for a southern boy, but it was where the job was).
  • He found a local bar, owned by a guy named Peter Perritano and his wife, Ann. He became a regular. Pete's sister-in-law Lydia was also a frequent attendee. Lydia and Tom became friends.
  • One day Lydia's daughter came to the bar with her. Betty Jane. She thought Tommy "had a cute butt."
  • Two years later, on Labor Day weekend, Tommy and Betty eloped and were married by a JP in Old Forge, NY. Their honeymoon was a fishing trip.
  • The only big disagreement was about children. Betty wanted them, Tom didn't.
  • Seven years later, Betty won the argument when Rosemary was born.
  • For nearly two years Tom endured the creature in his house. Then, as Betty put it, "One day you looked at him, and said something, and I saw his face change--you became a tiny person, and it was all over. He has adored you ever since."
My daddy was a gentle, poetic man tortured by nightmares of being behind enemy lines. or surrounded by explosions. He had a deep, terrifying temper that he fought to control, usually with success. His dreams were stolen by the exigencies of a Depression era youth and the injuries of war. He became a quiet alcoholic, and we lived paycheck to paycheck, in a home with only cold running water (in the 60s and 70s), where snow came in and stayed on my pillow overnight. His only son was never healthy, and died at 11. He was a deeply conservative man, who, in the era of the Kennedys and Johnson, supported Goldwater and Wallace. He ranted against the "academic eggheads" in the 60's, yet no man was ever prouder of his grad school daughter than my Daddy was of me.

I broke his heart, as all children do, yet I made sure he always knew how much I loved him. The hole that his death left in my life, 2 weeks after I turned 30,  is indescribable. Our politics differed, but our way to figuring out the world was the same. I didn't have to explain why I thought the way I did, why I behaved the way I did, because Daddy knew--I was like him. I loved my mother profoundly, but we were often a mystery to each other. Daddy I understood, and he understood me. Others have come close to understanding, especially Morguhn, but no one "got me" the way Daddy did.

I miss him every day.
Happy Father's Day, Daddy.
meirwen_1988: (Default)
Classes start in 36 hours.

So of course today was marked by computer phoo (we got new servers--okay, all you IT people stop laughing hysterically and pick yourselves up off the floor: you're embarrassing your cats) so I couldn't print anything until 4 PM. Not entirely worked out, but at least I can print now. Being able to YouTube in the classroom had better be worth the ulcer I developed today.

In other news, I have a martini in the glass, half gone, am getting ready to proofread my syllabii before putting them up in Blackboard, and am digesting dinner.

I discovered a recipe that may be diet friendly (vegan, low fat, gluten free?) for some of my friends, to wit:

Spicy Broccoli Rabe with Cannellini Beans

Preparation Time: 8 min
Cooking Time: 15 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

1 pound(s) broccoli rabe, ends trimmed, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
3 Tbsp minced garlic
15 oz canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste

* Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Boil broccoli rabe until just tender, about 3 to 4 minutes; drain and set aside.

* Place oil and garlic in a large nonstick sauté pan; set over low heat. Sweat garlic for approximately 10 minutes, keeping oil and garlic together in center of pan to avoid browning.

* Add beans to pan; stir well to combine.

* Add broccoli rabe and lemon juice to pan; toss to combine. Season well with salt and pepper.

* Yields about 1 heaping cup per serving.

I added a chopped up hot cherry pepper (pickled, 'cause I like those better than fresh), and substituted red wine for the vinegar. I put mine over Ronzoni SmartTaste pasta. Yum.

Of note today:

-Robert Parker died. Maybe now he and Robert Urich are comparing notes on how Joe Mantegna does Spenser?
-Joan Helmer (mother of Bill, who I loved, and Steve, my friend), died at 81. She had a smile that could light up a town. Huge woman--broad shouldered, tall, sort of Julie Child sized. What a terrific lady! I know they've been framing up her wings for decades in heaven.
-Today is Shelley's birthday. Best of friends. Time has put distance between us, both physical and emotional, but she is one of the perennial bright spots in my memory. I hope her day was happy.

Now, if I can just find a ride to Shire Christmas....
meirwen_1988: (Thoughtful)
...and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Theodore DeReese "Teddy" Pendergrass, Sr. March 26, 1950–January 13, 2010
meirwen_1988: (Default)
Some time back I wrote about BCB (Baby Cat Black) and BCG (Baby Cat Gray). They are the offspring of PC (Porch Ckitty), not to be confused with LC (Elsie, who finally was brought inside). PC has been around for over a year now, since she was the age of BCB and BCG. When they got to a certain age she brought them over to the house from the barn where she had the litter, showed them where the humans put out the food, showed them the bird feeders, and the chipmunk holes, and then, her duty done, promptly started treating them like any other female feral cat does other cats--distant politeness, and an attitude of "you don't bother me, I won't bother you."

BCG is a very slender (but well fed--Meow Mix is her friend) dusty gray. She usually looks like she's been sprinkled with a fine gray powder, her fur has that sort of texture. BCB, on the other hand, inherited her mother's fur--a glossy, dense, black coat so shiny that, feral as she is, still has a luxurious softness and reflects both sunlight and moonlight. She has a slightly cobbier build, like her mother. Both have tawny amber eyes, and fine, slightly sharp features.

During late July, August, and the first week of September we'd look out the window and the siblings would be playing under the cars, laying together in the sun, bookending each other on the front porch steps. One would sit guard while the other ate, then reverse. They made themselves homes under the porches, grew to know just how close the dogs could come to them and be totally oblivious of their presence. Like clockwork they would show up 5 minutes after a car pulled into the yard, but if they were on the porch, or in the yard when we would come home, they'd bolt instantly.

One day in early September (or it could have been late August, but I was coming home from teaching) BCB was laying in the yard, but didn't bolt when I pulled in. So I grabbed my stuff and walked up the path, and spoke to her. At which point she struggled to get up, and dragged herself, using her front legs only, about 10 feet and disappeared under the porch. Even so handicapped, she was FAST!

We couldn't get her to come out, but she was moving around, and BCG was staying close, so we moved the food and water down to where she could creep over to them, and hoped for the best.

Well, the food continued to disappear (1 cat and 2 kittens worth), so we were hopeful. After about a week I came home and she was up on the porch, laying in a patch of sun. I was happy, until she went to run away, and then I saw that she was dragging her right hind leg, useless, behind her. Duchezz speculated that she'd dislocated it, I thought she'd been clipped by a car. Whatever the cause, we continued to see her, sticking close to the house, almost daily. And her movement improved perceptibly each time we saw her. We moved the food back up on the porch, where it was undercover, but made it so she could access it easily. This has meant some very creative pug wrangling, since that means they can get to it as well (it used to be barricaded, much to their frustration). But it was worth it so she could continue to thrive.

Of course, where they are fed is in full view of the window Satin is looking out in the icon I used for this post. Which torments Sam and Elsie no end. This past Saturday, Elsie finally made a successful (as in extended) break for it. We tried to get her to come in (she was perfectly happy to have us outside playing with her, but when she figured out we were trying to "catch" her, she "Later for you. Talk to the tail!" So, while we were off at the spa, Elsie was hanging with her BFFs (after she had explored 6 feet up various tree trunks, the cornfield...well, you get the idea). But, when we finally got home around 10 PM, she was more than ready to come in.

It being fall, the wildlife is out in force. I came home the other day (around 5) to a beautiful doe enjoying the apple tree buffet. Most mornings, especially the foggy ones, we have a family of turkeys that come over from the thicket on the north side of the house and come across the yard--tom, hen, and 5 young ones--and they eat the windfall, and the bugs that eat it. A couple of mornings ago, Duchezz called me over to the back porch door, where BCB was stalking the turkeys. Now, you have to understand that the tom was easily 5 times her size, and the littles are beak-to-tail about her size--but much taller! When one of them turned towards her she thought better of her plan, and high-tailed it under the lilac bush. She was barely hobbling at all. The next day Duchezz described her as "tearing around" the outside of the house. Whatever had lamed her, she seemed to have almost completely recovered!

Today I came home around 5. Duchezz is gone for the weekend, I have the dogs. I was thinking about letting them out, bringing my gear inside. But I wasn't thinking so hard that I missed it.
I got out of the car, leaving my gear inside, and walked over to between the two big maples that edge the road in front of the house. Then I came inside, and just as I had last October, found a big towel and brought it outside. For the first time, I touched that beautiful, lush black fur, that even in the shadows of the trees, shone like it had captured moonlight. I wrapped the small, stiff body in the towel, and then carried it across the road and set it in the high grass near where she was born.

As I came back towards the house, BCG was heading towards the food bowl on the back porch. I came inside, got more food, and went out on the porch and filled the bowl. Once I was back inside and had put the food away, I looked out the window. A small gray cat was eating, but I swear her posture was different--sad, lost.

Tomorrow friends are coming over. I will ask if they can help me dig a hole the right size for a small cat. We will retrieve her from the tall grass, if she and her shroud are still there. We will say even more prayers for her young, brave soul.

She is in a place where the porches all have sunny spots, and there is always cool water to drink. The chipmunks are fat and catchable, the birds bright and just challenging enough to catch that getting dinner is always fun. She never will shiver in the winter's cold, but instead will stalk prey by the light of fireflys--the beautiful little cat, with moonlight in her fur.


Jun. 26th, 2009 10:17 am
meirwen_1988: (flashback)
...started with a thunder bumper and the exit of the Bartlett administration.

I find myself missing the rain--the grey wet is depressing--the rain was like a wonderful blanket insulating me from the world.

Soon it is to grade papers I go, let the puppies run for a few hours before they go to the kennel, then pack for Pax.

Apropos of nothing, this morning I saw a headline that claimed that the two celebrity deaths yesterday marked "A Sad Day for Generation X." The headline puzzled me then, as it does now. I have lived for almost 2 decades in a house where the birth years are separated by 7--the elder from the tail end of the Baby Boom, the younger from the beginning of the Gen X era. Actually, more of my friends are Gen X than BB. And I have a hefty group that are Gen Y (but don't tell my students--it would ruin my old-foggy cred). And I've talked to them about art, and pop culture, and and and...

Michael and Farrah were Boomers, so I'm not sure why this is particularly a Gen X loss. Maybe it's the whole "older sib" thing. Maybe. But frankly, I'm at a loss to understand it. And yes, I listened compulsively to MJ's Off the Wall and Thriller, and loved Farrah's seasons of Angels. Yes, in Michael we lost a talent of amazing ability (flaws and all), and it shakes the foundations of certainty any time an iconic figure (oh, go ahead, tell me that Farrah wasn't iconic) dies, let alone two in one day. But I'm really having trouble with that headline.

Of course, all the ruminating could just be trying to avoid grading. *Sigh*

Yeah, yeah, I'm going.
meirwen_1988: (Thoughtful)
it was this.

In Pace Requiescat.
meirwen_1988: (sad cute)

Dom Deluise August 1, 1933 - May 4, 2009

My second reaction was "Thank you for always being able to make me smile, on even the worst days. I will miss you."

meirwen_1988: (Thoughtful)
When I think back to those days when the year was defined by shopping for new school clothes, fear of being a grown up (i.e., the freshman year of college), and summers spent alternating with the sheer, mind-numbing boredom of being 19 , in a home with a mother who didn't drive, out in the middle of fraking nowhere and the indolence of long summer days spent blissfully reading and listening to my little transistor radio, the soundtrack sounds like this.

Good-bye England Dan.

meirwen_1988: (Thoughtful)
Wendy Richard July 20, 1943-Feb. 25, 2009

meirwen_1988: (bitter)
While we were eating dinner tonight Duchezz got one of those calls.

Her favorite brother called to tell her their Aunt Joan died last night.

Joan was more than an aunt, though. You see, Joan was their mother's younger sister who had...special qualities. Joan got to about 6 years old, and while her body kept growing older, her mind, and her emotions, never really did. Joan lived with Duchezz's family from the time Joan and Audrey's mother could no longer take care of her any more, and she lived with Audrey until Audrey's own health issues required the family to put Joan in a group home, long after Duchezz had moved in with the Big Redhead.

So while Joan was her Aunt, in truth she was the "older" sister who became the "younger sister" to Duchezz and her brothers.

We all knew Joan would die. She was, after all, in her 70s and was beginning to suffer pretty severe dementia and cardiac problems. Nonetheless, Duchezz is in pain. If you would like a land or electronic mail address for her, please contact me privately and I'll get them to you.
meirwen_1988: (Thoughtful)

Sometimes TV just times out right so that your needs are fulfilled.

Back when I was a "tween," prime time was just moving away from Westerns, but in a last ditch effort to draw audience they had a few with big names and really hunky leads. That meant that by the time I was a teenager, they were reruning at 4 in the afternoon--before the 'rents came home, and I was alone in the house. My favorite was The Big Valley. Lee Majors and Peter Breck played prominent roles in my adolescent fantasies (and, well, hold up a picture of 30 something Lee Majors and a certain Duke, and listen to Majors's soft Kentucky accent sometime, and you'll see I certainly have a "type" preference).

A close second was Laredo (cast picture above). In terms of pure pleasure, I think I liked Laredo more. Where The Big Valley had the magnificent Barbara Stanwyck, Peter Long (who later was The Professor in Nanny and the Professor) and the aforementioned hunkos [yes, guys, and Linda Evans], the plots tended to be very serious. About half the time, Laredo was funny. Sure, it was usually the Neville Brand (Silver Star and Purple Heart, among others, btw) character who was funny, but there was enough other silly guy stuff to make me happy.

And then there was the anchor, Capt. Parmalee (far left in the photo). He managed to make sure the rangers did their jobs, showed a sense of humor (you could believe he used to "be like them"), and gave some stability. Which was an image I desperately needed at the time. So, there was a handsome daddy figure, Peter Brown (always easy on the eyes), and William Smith (far right in the photo) as Joe Riley [gorgeous at the time, who went on to play some really mean and nasty types]--who, frankly, was...often in my thoughts.

I read today that Philip Carey died yesterday at 83. Death is always a loss, but he lived a long and successful life, rarely going without work for very long. He had 5 children. Not a bad run.

Good-bye, Cap.' Thank you.
meirwen_1988: (writing)
Some of you may recall last year's campaign to save Jericho, when CBS suddenly found itself the recipient of thousands of pounds of peanuts.

The peanut campaign, "'Nuts!" to CBS," was inspired by a line from the last episode of the show, when Jake, commanding Jericho's forces, responds "Nuts," when he's presented with terms of surrender. The dramatic sequence was inspired by a historic episode from the Battle of the Bulge.

The American commanding officer who responded "Nuts." to the German commander, Ret. Gen. Harry W.O. Kinnard, died this week.

Jericho is being rerun on many stations.

It's funny how things echo.

BTW, in case you think I'm obsessing about death, let's balance it with "My friend Jenn is having a baby girl!" and I'm all twittery and knitting baby things!


Jan. 14th, 2009 07:58 pm
meirwen_1988: (Thoughtful)
My first memory of the actor who came to play Khan Noonien Singh, in fact, is from watching an Esther Williams film on a cold, snowy Saturday afternoon with my mother. The urbane Latin lover is trying to seduce Esther, and sings "Baby, It's Cold Outside." No matter who is singing it, whenever I hear the song, I flash back to a very young, very hot, Ricardo Montalban. Not many years later, perhaps it was only months, I was sitting with my parents, watching Star Trek, and there he was--a little older, still hot, as a product of eugenics, quoting Milton to Kirk.

For many people he will forever be Mr. Roarke, or the pitchman famous for the rich intonation on "rich Corinthian leather." Or the famously Catholic, famously faithful, devoted husband and father. Or one of the groundbreaking Hispanic actors in Hollywood. For me, he is all of those, but those two images--the suave polo player, and the brilliant, ruthless, damned warrior king, are the ones seared onto the eye of my mind.

Whatever the image, he will be missed. Vaya con Dios, Senor Montalban.

And just a few hours earlier, we've lost Dr. Syn, John Drake, Number Six, the wonderful Patrick McGoohan.

I remember the vague sense of betrayal I felt as my mother and father became fans of Danger Man, and The Prisoner. This wasn't my Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, let alone my Andrew McDhui from The Three Lives of Thomasina. Over the years, I've come to appreciate those more adult shows, and his other work, but nothing I have ever seen him in, including his fantastically cold, ruthless Edward Longshanks ever eclipsed those two memories for me. He will always be for me the vigilante vicar, and the hard-headed, logical man won over by the magic of a wonderful cat, and Susan Hampshire's English rose.

Rather than a hymn of farewell, these are the words I will always hear when I think of you, Mr. McGoohan:

On the southern coast of England,
There's a legend people tell,
Of days long ago when the great Scarecrow
Would ride from the jaws of hell,
And laugh... with a fiendish yell.
With his clothes all torn and tattered,
Through the black of night he'd ride.
From the marsh to the coast like a demon ghost,
He'd rob the rich then hide,
And he'd laugh... till he split his side.
Scarecrow! Scarecrow! The soldiers of the king feared his name.
Scarecrow! Scarecrow! The country folk all loved him just the same.
He would always help the farmer when there was no gold to bring,
He'd find a way for the poor to pay the taxes of the king,
With gold... from a smugglers ring.
So the king told all his soldiers
"Hang him high or hang him low,
But never return till the day I learn
He rides in the flames below,
Or you'll hang... with the great Scarecrow."
Scarecrow! Scarecrow! The soldiers of the king feared his name.
Scarecrow! Scarecrow! The country folk all loved him just the same.

Rest ye well.
meirwen_1988: (Thoughtful)
"A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny."
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

meirwen_1988: (Roses)
My father was a music fan. More nights than not when I was a child, the television was off, and the stereo was on. It was usually one of two things--train records (really), or big bands. Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey. I liked Jimmy's band better, but Tommy--well, he had the Pied Pipers. Which meant Jo Stafford.

So, she and Rosie are together again...and the angels sing.


Jul. 1st, 2008 06:50 am
meirwen_1988: (scifi)
Requiescat in pace


May. 30th, 2008 08:46 am
meirwen_1988: (Thoughtful)
One of my favorite comics ever. Ever.

 Harvey Korman

I guess the angels needed someone to make them laugh. They got the right guy for the job.


meirwen_1988: (Default)

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