R.I.P. Maj. Dick Winters, American hero

Posted in Books, History, Movies, TV, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2011 by macmystery

I first learned of Dick Winters’ death from a Facebook post by my friend Chris Otto of the York Daily-Record. He linked to a story Monday night from a Pennsylvania TV station reporting the World War II veteran’s death a week before. Here’s the Washington Post obit.

Winters became widely known, thanks to the Stephen Ambrose book and HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers,” which followed the E company, second battalion (Easy Company), of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Infantry from their formation through the Normandy invasion and on through Germany’s surrender.

As a history major, I found the book interesting, but honestly, the miniseries, produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, is where I, and I’m guessing millions of other Americans, truly came to know about Winters. It’s hands down the best television I’ve ever seen.

The book, culled from interviews with surviving members of Easy Company, is historically accurate, and the miniseries follows the trend of the past 15 years where filmmakers, instead of glorifying war, have tried to accurately portray the horror and savagery of conflict and illustrate the sacrifices of those who risked or lost their lives.

Winters wasn’t originally in command of Easy Company. But just like in so many other situations in the group’s story, Winters took the reins and led by example when he was called to. He was concerned about each and every one of his men. And his men respected him for it and loved him in return.

According to the Washington Post, late in the war, one of Mr. Winters’s soldiers, Floyd Talbert, wrote a letter to the officer from a hospital in Indiana expressing gratitude for his loyalty and leadership.

“You are loved and will never be forgotten by any soldier that ever served under you,” Talbert wrote to Winters in 1945. “I would follow you into hell.”

We’ve reached a point in our history where the people who risked their lives and served their country are dying off and leaving us at an ever-increasing rate. Soon, what little first-hand knowledge we have of the great sacrifice the men like those of Easy Company made to, not only preserve our freedom, but to defeat the powers of evil, will have gone away.

I’m saddened by Winters’ passing, but I’m thankful he served. He lived to the age of 92 before losing his battle with Parkinson’s Disease. News of his death, more than a week ago, was kept quiet at his request. He didn’t seek glory. He exhibited class, even in death.

Thank you, Dick Winters. Though you may not have chosen the label, there’s no denying you are a hero.

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“She’s a special kind of stupid”

Posted in Humor, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2010 by macmystery

Sarah Palin obviously can't see Korea from her house.

I can’t claim that quote about Sarah Palin. An acquaintance of mine introduced me to it. But it’s so fitting, I had to borrow it.

On nutjob Glenn Beck’s radio show, commenting on the recent violence between north and South Korea, Palin said we should stand beside our North Korean allies. The only-slightly-smarter-than-her host corrected her.

“This speaks to a bigger picture here that certainly scares me in terms of our national security policy,” she says. “But obviously we’ve gotta stand with our North Korean allies.”

“South Korean allies,” Beck says.

Here’s a link to the audio.

Couldn’t she have just written this down on her hand?

Seriously? Ignorance must be bliss.

Go ahead run for president. Split the right wing vote and guarantee Obama another four years. I dare you.

The Promise delivered

Posted in Music with tags , , , on November 6, 2010 by macmystery

Pitchfork.com posted a complete in-studio film and recording of Bruce Springsteen’s long-unreleased classic “The Promise” on Friday. It’s awesome.

I can’t wait for the box set on Nov. 16.

Enjoy.

He’s gay … he’s not gay … it’s none of your damn business

Posted in Family, Internet, TV with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2010 by macmystery

So a couple of nights ago, I’m sitting in the living room with my wife Brooke. She’s got the laptop with her on the couch and she’s reading some other people’s blogs while I’m watching an episode of Psych on Netflix.

And she comes across this blog post from a woman about her son who wanted to be Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween. The woman talked about how much her son loved the character and his best friend, a little girl, also went as Daphne.

She also talked about the negative reaction the costume got from other parents.

She was very supportive of her son and basically told the other adults it wasn’t their concern what her son wanted to be for Halloween.

As my wife explained the woman’s blog, Nerdy Apple Bottom, and read the post to me, I found myself sympathizing with the mother.

So Thursday night, after work, I was working on the dashboard of my blog and noticed that her post about the costume, entitled “My Son Is Gay,” was the top post among all WordPress blogs.

(For what it’s worth, if you read the blog post, you’ll find that the title “My son is gay” is actually just the first line of the post. It’s immediately followed by “Or he’s not. I don’t care. He is still my son. And he is 5. And I am his mother. And if you have a problem with anything mentioned above, I don’t want to know you.”)

I didn’t think much of it, just thought I’d mention it to Brooke when I got a chance since it had sparked her interest.

Then at work on Friday, I was perusing CNN.com and found that her blog post had sparked an uproar. It was the top post on all the WordPress blogs because it had gotten more than a million hits in a day’s time.

She had gotten lots of feedback, mostly positive, but some negative and some downright ugly.

On CNN.com, there’s a video (click here) of her live phone interview on television. She holds her own with the reporter, who’s sympathetic, and a child psychologist.

I find it truly amazing the a 5-year-old child’s choice of a Halloween costume could cause such an uproar.

There are many people criticizing this mother for blogging about her son’s choice of costume. But that’s not what she did. She only blogged about her son’s choice of costume in response to the negative and ugly feedback she got from neighbors and other parents at her son’s school.

She told them to shove off. And she was right to.

It’s bad enough that we in this country spend a large portion of our time passing judgment on other adults.

But one 5-year-old’s choice of a Halloween costume … his choice to dress up just like his best friend … on a day, the one day every year, when everyone has the opportunity to pretend to be someone they’re not and it’s supposed to be OK … one 5-year-old’s choice of a Halloween costume shouldn’t cause this kind of furor. It shouldn’t draw venomous feedback from supposed adults and it shouldn’t make the national news.

In fact, the more I read some of the idiotic feedback she got, the more frustrated and angry I become, and he’s not even my child. I can only imagine what it must have been like to have to deal some of the people face-to-face.

And even after all of this, I’m at a loss of what to say.

My son and my daughter are free to pursue whatever dream they desire. I won’t dictate what road they take in life or who they love. I only hope that they grow up to be good people, they embrace their journeys in life and that they are lucky enough to find love.

I can’t imagine trying to dictate to them what should and shouldn’t make them happy. But I know I’m certainly not OK with anyone else trying to do it either.

So I guess if confronted with the same situation this mother was, I’d say the same thing she did in her blog post …

“It’s none of your damn business.”

A glimpse of Bruce Springsteen’s Promise

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2010 by macmystery

Frank Stefanko's cover photo for Bruce Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town album.

Whatever mistakes NPR made in the handling of the Juan Williams situation, I forgive them.

For the next two weeks, they’ve guaranteed I can begin loving 15 of the 21 songs on Bruce Springsteen’s upcoming release, The Promise, subtitled The Lost Sessions: Darkness on the Edge of Town, a collection of 21 unreleased songs from the Darkness sessions.

NPR is streaming 15 songs individually, or you can choose to listen to them all together randomly in one stream.

No matter how you listen, the fact is that you can right here. At least until Nov. 16, the album’s release date.

Among the 15 songs are:

  • The original version of “The Promise.” Not only is this the centerpiece of THIS set, it very well may be one of Springsteen’s best, period. There was an updated version released on the 18 Tracks album, but it can’t compare to the original. Seriously, in my book, this is a top-10 Springsteen song.
  • Studio versions of “Fire,” made popular by the Pointer Sisters, and “Because the Night,” completed by Patti Smith. The lyrics are slightly different than the Smith version we’ve become used to.
  • “Come On (Let’s Go Tonight)” is basically an alternate version of “Factory,” which made Darkness. The music is essentially the same and it has that same country feel, but the lyrics are quite different. At least one line in the song, about Elvis Presley’s death, we would later see in “Johnny Bye-Bye.”
  • “Ain’t Good Enough For You” is kind of a goofy, fun, 60s-type pop song. It’s closer to something that might have made The River. But it’s not hard to see how it didn’t fit with Darkness.
  • “City of the Night” is a kind of a tight-but-mellow three-minute soul piece.
  • “It’s a Shame” has a nice guitar rhythm or groove going on between Bruce and Steven Van Zant.
  • “Save My Love,” for which there is a video that I linked to out of this post, is the only song of the 15 that was totally re-recorded. So it’s essentially a 2010 E-Street Band version of a 1978 Springsteen tune.
  • “Candy’s Boy” is one of two songs that eventually were combined and morphed into what we now know as “Candy’s Room.” (The other was called “The Fast Song” and essentially was the musical framework for “Candy’s Room”). It’s kind of slow and this version is cut from the one found on Darkness outtake bootlegs. But I really like it. why? I don’t know. I always have.
  • “Rendevous” is much the same as the live version heard on Tracks, but there are a couple of slight lyrical changes I’m not sure I like.
  • “The Brokenhearted” is a very Roy Orbison-esque song. The title gives away the subject matter.
  • There’s a heavier version of “Racing in the Street,” with some substantial lyrical differences from the track we’ve come to know. The core of the song remains the same though, and I think this one will grow on me.
  • “The Wrong Side of the Street” is another 60s pop song.
  • “Gotta Get That Feeling” recalls the Phil Spector sound, and there’s definitely an Orbison feel to it.
  • “Outside Looking In” is pure Buddy Holly.

The tracks NPR doesn’t preview are “Spanish Eyes,” “Talk to Me,” “The Little Things (My Baby Does),” “Someday (We’ll Be Together),” “Breakaway,” and “One Way Street.”

The Darkness outtakes still missing from this collection are numerous and include “The Way,” maybe one of Springsteen’s most romantic songs ever. There’s no telling if it will ever see the light of day.

Nonetheless, if you listen to these 15 tracks, and the other six on the album, I think you’ll find that even Springsteen’s cast offs during this period were gems.

List of the week: Doubling down

Posted in Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2010 by macmystery

San Francisco Giant Edgar Renteria, back, is congratulated by teammates after his three-run home run in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series.

Shortstop Edgar Renteria’s seventh-inning three-run home run in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series led the San Francisco Giants to a 3-1 win and a 4-1 Series victory against the Texas Rangers.

Renteria also had the Series-winning hit in the 1997 World Series for the Florida Marlins.

With the the homer, Renteria became just the fourth major league player to have the World Series-winning hit in more than one Fall Classic. And he joined quite an elite club.

Here are the major league baseball players who have had the Series-winning hit in more than one World Series:

 

WTF has Obama done so far?

Posted in Politics with tags , , on November 2, 2010 by macmystery

President Barrack Obama

So, what the $@&% has Barack Obama done so far as president?

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook and I thought I’d pass it along.

whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com

If you don’t like it, so be it.