Downtown Los Angeles, circa 1983

Downtown Los Angeles, circa 1983
STMcC in downtown Los Angeles, circa 1983

Saturday, January 27, 2018

WOULD YOU LIKE TO... KNOW WHY 'HIGH NOON' IS HIGHLY OVERRATED?

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[This Guide was written and originally posted online in August of 2005.]
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"LET'S USE OUR HEADS FOR SOMETHING MORE THAN JUST COWBOY HAT RACKS!"

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* SPOILER ALERT! *
In order to tear this movie limb from limb, it will be necessary to reveal significant plot points. I suggest you forgo reading this guide if you've never seen HIGH NOON but think someday you will.
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 TIME TO RE-EVALUATE THE "CLASSIC":

HIGH NOON (1952) is considered to be one of the greatest of the classic Western films.

In his book 'Western Films', Brian Garfield writes, "HIGH NOON is an exquisite thriller about the ninety minutes before noon on the wedding day of Will Kane [Gary Cooper], ex-marshal of Hadleyville. Kane learns that Frank Miller, a killer he sent to prison, has been pardoned & will arrive on the noon train to exact revenge." That's an overview of the plot. 

'The B.F.I. Companion To The Western' comments that "the film is memorable for its careful illusion of 'real time' suspense... [High Noon is] usually interpreted as a liberal allegory of existential man faced by the horrors of McCarthyism."

There are two ways in which HIGH NOON should be critiqued: Cinematically and Politically. The first part of this guide will look at it Cinematically. In Section 2, we'll examine its political underpinnings. The movie has been registered as a national treasure with the Library of Congress, but I think this has more to do with its politics than anything else.

HIGH NOON is NOT a terrible movie. Its use of "real time" suspense to heighten the drama was a unique idea in 1952. The scene in which the pendulum of the grandfather's clock ticks off the final minutes like a metronome before the train whistle blows was suspenseful and nicely edited. But overall, HIGH NOON does not live up to the accolades and cannot withstand a careful examination. There are some significant flaws in the movie: Some of the plot devices are too contrived. Some characters defy genuine human nature. As just simple-minded escapism, HIGH NOON is acceptable, but it is hardly the "masterpiece" professional critics have made it out to be.

THE CLOCK IS TICKING:

The problems start with Gary Cooper's performance as Marshal Will Kane. Although he earned an Academy Award for it, a glance through 1952's competition will show that there wasn't much of it. In truth, Cooper's performance was one-dimensional. He plays every scene with a whimpering look on his face and a lump in his throat. We can expect the hero to be experiencing fear, but at the same time, we're supposed to accept this man as a no-nonsense, frontier lawman who previously cleaned up the wild 'n' woolly town of Hadleyville. Cooper doesn't look like he's that man. In fact, the same expression appears on his face in the opening scene when he marries the Quaker girl, Amy Fowler (Grace Kelly). He looks as if he's about to cry, both at his wedding and throughout the rest of the picture! Brian Garfield praises Cooper's acting as "possibly one of the most intense performances by any actor ever to have been filmed". Only if Cooper were portraying a man "intensely" constipated, could I agree with Garfield's assessment.

Having married the man just minutes before, Amy Fowler learns that Kane is going to remain in Hadleyville to face down Frank Miller and his three fellow outlaws intent on killing him. She is entirely incapable of understanding his reluctance to tuck tail and head for the hills like a scared little dog. Objecting to having to wait an hour to find out whether she is a married woman or a widow, she gives Kane an ultimatum: Either dash out of town with her now, or say goodbye forever. 

Did Amy Fowler just drop from the sky? Did she know nothing about this man she married? Kane was largely responsible for saving Hadleyville from its criminal element and making it a respectable place for families. He was a well-known and (mostly) admired man in the town. How come Amy Fowler seems to know less than ANY other person in the town about the character of the man she has fallen in love with? Does it seem reasonable that she should be so ready to abandon him when he chooses to remain and face his responsibility, all because she MIGHT soon find herself a widow? By leaving him, in essence she was GUARANTEEING her "widowhood" by her own actions. Bright girl that Amy Fowler!

At the first sound of gunfire, Amy rushes back to her husband from the train depot. This makes all of her earlier protestations against violence ring hollow -- especially when she picks up a gun herself and shoots one of her husband's opponents in the back. (Something even he wasn't willing to do!) Clearly, Amy Fowler's motivations were lacking any REAL commitment and her threats about leaving Kane were nothing more than a contrived plot device meant to increase the perceived tension in the story. Everything about the character, Amy Fowler, was artificial -- she was simply a device!

Another plot device intended to heighten the suspense is the fact that the townspeople leave the Marshal to face the killers alone. Each citizen finds their excuse to abandon him. While this device accomplishes its goal, it is not the least bit believable! Those early Western pioneers were, almost without exception, extremely hearty and courageous people. They possessed an intestinal fortitude that today's soft Americans can't even imagine. It is not a lily-livered individual who packs up a few belongings and crosses the plains in a prairie schooner or Conestoga wagon, travels over mountains, across rivers, braving thunderstorms, dust storms, Indian and outlaw attacks to forge a new life in a barren land. It is entirely unrealistic to believe that every upstanding man in Hadleyville would suddenly turn chicken at the approach of four outlaws!

Two incidents from history serve to illustrate this point: When Jesse James' gang attempted to rob the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota, on Sept. 7, 1876, the citizens (not even the fearless Western variety, but mostly Nordic immigrants) responded with armed force and sent two members of the gang to their Maker. Within days, the posse killed another outlaw & captured Bob, Cole and Jim Younger. (See the movies 'Great Northfield Minnesota Raid' and 'The Long Riders'.) 

An even worse fate awaited the Doolin-Dalton gang on Oct. 5, 1892, when they rode into Coffeyville, Kansas, with the audacious plan to rob two banks simultaneously. When the news of what was occurring spread to the townspeople, they armed themselves & shot it out with the desperados who were attempting to escape. The Doolin-Dalton gang was decimated! Bone chips are probably STILL being collected from the streets! (See 'The Last Ride Of The Dalton Gang')

The most egregious example of a false motivation comes in the form of Deputy Sheriff Harvey Pell (Lloyd Bridges). Dissatisfied because Kane has not recommended him to the town council for the recently vacated position of Marshal, the Deputy Sheriff walks out on Kane. This device, designed to leave the Marshal alone, does not work because it is not the reasonable actions of a brave lawman. If Pell really desired Kane's support in garnering the promotion, wouldn't it have been obvious that standing with the Marshal in defense of his life, when all others turned their backs, would have resulted in the commendation he sought from Kane? Bright boy that Harvey Pell! HIGH NOON has too many contrived gears to make it the least bit believable.

Having been utterly abandoned, with only a few minutes remaining before the four gunmen come for him, what do you suppose a brave Western lawman would do? Formulate some sort of plan by which he might gain an edge? Concoct a way to even the odds? No, not in HIGH NOON!  Our hero sits down to make out his Last Will And Testament. Now there's a doggedly determined Western man for you! And just what possessions is he so concerned about leaving to his loved ones? We saw him earlier leaving town in a wagon and it didn't contain much of anything other than his new bride!


THE CLOCK STRIKES TWELVE:

...and here comes Frank Miller and his 3 outlaw buddies. They know that Kane is waiting in town for them, so what do they do? They do like any smart outlaws would -- they walk right up the center of the street, just like ducks at a shooting gallery! Bright boy that Frank Miller! Had Marshal Kane planted himself in a second-story window (instead of writing out his Last Will And Testament), he could have picked 'em off like shooting fish in a barrel! (But then all semblance of realism left this picture early on!)

Give Kane credit for being smart enough to maneuver himself behind the outlaws while they come marching up the street. Now he's in a position to open fire from behind before they know what's hit them. BUT NO! Kane couldn't do that! Why that wouldn't be fair. (As if Frank Miller is concerned with fairness! Four against one -- that's called "outlaw morality".) No, the only fair thing to do is to call out to your opponent before shooting. "Heads up, boys; I'm behind y'all here!" So, what happens when Kane yells to Miller? Miller & Company wheel around with their guns a-blazing, of course. Immediately the edge that Kane had managed to establish disappears in a cloud of smoke. Bright boy that Will Kane!

To make a long shootout short -- Kane dispatches his opponents (with the help of a nicely placed bullet to the back and a clawing of Miller's face by his pacifist wife, Amy). Just as the last gunshot echoes through the streets, a stable boy pulls up with Kane's horses harnessed to his wagon loaded for the honeymoon. Kane wordlessly drops his Marshal's badge into the dusty street, climbs onto the wagon with Amy and the "bright bride & groom" ride off into the sunset together. End of "Classic" Western. Boy, they don't make 'em like they used to! Aren't you glad they don't make 'em like they used to?

THE DUST SETTLES:

We're all adults here, so let's be honest... HIGH NOON may be suspenseful toward the end, but it is certainly no "masterpiece." This is just simple-minded "entertainment". That it's been registered as a "national treasure" is really kind of embarrassing. If you want to see the "real time" suspense concept utilized far more successfully, I suggest you check out the relatively unknown Western, '3:10 to Yuma' (1957). Although it is a HIGH NOON derivative and its ending is a bit implausible, '3:10 to Yuma' is everything HIGH NOON wanted to be and more! It boggles the mind to consider that of the two, HIGH NOON came to be regarded as the "Classic." But that's probably due to its hidden "political" agenda. Shall we?...

SECTION 2 

THE HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE POLITICS OF 'HIGH NOON':

HIGH NOON has a well known reputation as a political statement. It is my belief that its political aspect is more responsible than anything for its continued celebrity. HIGH NOON is supposedly the rebuttal to "McCarthyism" from Hollywood's Liberal Left.

As a political statement, the movie is wrong-headed and rather opaque, but then Communists / Socialists have never exactly been known for their smarts and lucidity!

I am borrowing the following explanation (*with its bias evident) from the Lycos / Tripod website, which will make clear what all the fuss was about. Due to space constraints, I've had to severely edit it:

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By showing an example of a man who stood up to outlaws, [HIGH NOON] criticizes those who gave the names of people with left-wing political views to the McCarthyites and the House Un-American Activities Committee during the Red Scare.

The 1947-1954 Red Scare directly affected Hollywood and the movie industry, but was not limited to them. Several people in the State Department lost their jobs as suspected Communists or went to jail. Two people -- Julius and Ethel Rosenberg -- were electrocuted for their (supposed) role in a ring to smuggle atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. The federal government and organized labor were also targets of the scare.

THE HOUSE UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE (HUAC):

This committee was not held in very high regard during the '20s and '30s, and did not do much. But starting in 1947, when the Republicans took back control of Congress for the first time in 18 years, it became active again.

During the first part of the [HUAC] hearings, the Committee called cooperative (“friendly”) witnesses and allowed them to read prepared statements. These people testified about what they knew of Communist activity in Hollywood. Representing the studios were Louis Mayer and Jack Warner. Representing actors were Gary Cooper, Robert Taylor and Ronald Reagan.
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In 1951, HUAC reconstituted itself under the leadership of Georgia Democrat John Wood. Also, the Senate got in on the act through its Internal Security Committee under the leadership of new Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy. These two committees were much more reckless and indiscriminate than the first phase of HUAC. They made wild, unsubstantiated charges about hundreds of people in Hollywood and the federal government. Thus, the term “McCarthyism” is equated with the more colorful “witch hunt.”

If you “named names” and recanted publicly in front of the Committee about your Communist past, you got to keep your job in Hollywood. If you stayed silent, you got fired. If you reasserted that you were a communist, you lost your job and were subject to prosecution by the government during this period. Hollywood people, especially people who had a leftist past, found themselves choosing sides, losing friendships and holding grudges forever.
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'ON THE WATERFRONT' (1954):

In the 1930s [Elia Kazan] had been involved with the Communist Party for a few months, but then became disillusioned with its beliefs and methods, and dropped out. In 1952 he was subpoenaed to appear in front of HUAC. He agonized over what to do, but ultimately he “named names” and denounced Communism. He angered a lot of his friends and colleagues, some of whom would never speak to him again.

Depth of feeling about Kazan’s recantation and “naming names” still runs deep in Hollywood. In 1999, when the Academy Awards people wanted to give him a lifetime achievement award, many people walked out of the ceremony.

[*An indication that Hollywood is STILL loaded with Communists / Socialists! And which I believe accounts for the rabid esteem that the movie HIGH NOON still enjoys in Hollywood. ~ STMcC]

Kazan produced On the Waterfront in 1954. Many people have interpreted the movie as a metaphor for what Kazan went through in Hollywood. The hero of the movie is a dockworker who turns in fellow dockworkers who have been instrumental in letting the Mafia infiltrate and take over the union. In the end, the informant gets severely beaten and loses family members, but ultimately triumphs over evil. Substitute the words “Communists” for “Mafia” and “Elia Kazan” for “Terry Malloy” and you have a not-so-hidden defense by Kazan for his actions in 1952.

HIGH NOON (1952):

This movie stars Gary Cooper, one of the original “friendly witnesses” from 1947 who felt bad about his role in the whole thing. The script was written by Carl Forman, who was blacklisted right after the movie came out, and did not work in Hollywood again until the 1960s. Most people see HIGH NOON as a metaphor attacking HUAC and the Blacklist, which is plausible considering the situation of its writer.

The movie is much more subtle than 'ON THE WATERFRONT'. It is the story of one man who stands up against evil and violence to defend a town that will not even defend itself. The “evil” is McCarthyism and the Red Scare; the “town” represents Hollywood; and “the marshal” is a person who would not cooperate with the whole process. The power of this movie in delivering this message was not so subtle that people did not immediately get it. One of the most outspoken anti-Communists in Hollywood at the time, actor and director John Wayne, called HIGH NOON “the most un-American movie I have ever seen.”

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There is much I could write concerning this topic, but space being limited here, I will make just two points :

It is important to keep in mind that although his name has become synonymous with the entire so-called Communist "Witch Hunt" era, the Wisconsin Senator, JOSEPH McCARTHY, was not personally involved in the question of Communist subversives in the Entertainment industry. That was the House Un-American Activities Committee’s area. McCarthy was ferreting out Communist spies that had infiltrated our government. (A good idea, unless you're a Commie.) For his efforts, the man was demonized unmercifully by the mass media and even many of his fellow Senators. No man has been more vilified in the United States than McCarthy. [2018 Update: At least not until the arrival of Donald Trump on the political scene.] Even Jesus still fares better in America. It's almost impossible to find anyone defending McCarthy's honor.

Everyone "knows" that McCarthy was the most evil American of the 20th Century. But no one can tell you why -- other than the generalities they've heard: "Didn't he smear the reputations of a lot of innocent people by making unfounded and reckless charges about their character and Communistic associations?"

Ah, but is that true?

That's what the masses have been conditioned to believe, and since few people bother investigating the facts for themselves, they assume it to be true because they see it printed and hear it said so often.

ARE YOU READY NOW TO LEARN THE TRUTH ABOUT THE "EVIL" JOSEPH McCARTHY?

There are only two groups of people "justified" in hating McCarthy: Communists & Socialists. That is such an important statement that I'm compelled to repeat it... There are only two groups of people "justified" in hating McCarthy: Communists & Socialists.

Unless you think it's a good idea to have Communists secretly working in sensitive departments of the U.S. Government, you ought to be appreciative of what McCarthy attempted to do before he was rendered ineffective by the Powers that be -- The Wizards Behind The Curtain. McCarthy was a good man who desired to save his country; he was a "great American patriot" (in the words of John F. Kennedy) who fought the forces of Collectivism and that's why the mainstream press still hates him to this day! 
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The absolute truth is that the Leftists did to McCarthy EVERYTHING they falsely accused him of having done to others! NO? You don't believe me? All it takes to know is a little reading and verifying. You might want to read the following books that vindicate McCarthy by revealing the truth that you'll NEVER get from the controlled mainstream media :
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Or...

Why not start with a cost-free examination on the worldwide web by clicking the following link?
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Link:
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THE REAL McCARTHY RECORD by James J. Drummey
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After you've been thoroughly shocked by this truth, you need to consider how many other beliefs you might currently hold that are nothing more than the result of the controlled mainstream media's brainwashing! If they could fool you this badly about JOSEPH McCARTHY, couldn't they have fooled you just as badly about many other subjects as well? Give this some serious thought!

In the final analysis, HIGH NOON must be considered suspenseful but overrated. It's imple-minded entertainment at best, and downright un-American at worst (as John Wayne claimed).

As for me... I gotta go now. It's High Noon, and I hear my Mommy calling me to lunch. I think it's Peanut Butter & Jelly samwitch again. Oh boy!

~ Stephen T. McCarthy
2005, August

Thursday, January 25, 2018

SHOOTS HOLES THE SIZE OF TED KENNEDY IN THE HISTORICAL REVISIONIST’S ARGUMENT!

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THE SECOND AMENDMENT: Preserving The Inalienable Right Of Individual Self-Protection
by David Barton
copyright: 2000
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DAVID BARTON begins his informative little booklet, THE SECOND AMENDMENT: Preserving The Inalienable Right Of Individual Self-Protection, by giving the reader a few excerpts from recent articles printed by mainstream American publications and statements made by prominent sources which display the reinterpretation of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment by the anti-firearm crowd. He then, in just 58 pages of text (not including the Endnotes) absolutely blows their position to smithereens! I mean, it’s like shooting a sleeping flea on a dead dog with a howitzer. Barton’s booklet hits the bull’s-eye!
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“There is no individual right to bear arms in the Bill of Rights.”
~ USA TODAY; December 28, 1994.
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“The sale, manufacture, and possession of handguns ought to be banned ... We do not believe the 2nd Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep them.”
~ The Washington Post; November 5, 1999.
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“There is no reason for anyone in the country, for anyone except a police officer or a military person, to buy, to own, to have, to use, a handgun.”
~ Michael Gartner; former president of NBC News, January 16, 1992.
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“Except for lawful police and military purposes, the possession of weapons by individuals is not constitutionally protected.”
~ The ACLU; policy statement #47, 1996.
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The above are just a few samples of the modern misinterpretations and/or outright deceptions that David Barton lays to waste in this compact but information-loaded and solidly documented booklet. He immediately reminds the reader that “a common error in constitutional interpretation is the failure to examine a document according to its original meaning” and he then gives several quotations from America’s Founding Fathers admonishing their contemporaries, and future generations, to do just that when attempting to understand any constitutional passage.
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“On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”
~ President Thomas Jefferson; June 12, 1823.
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Barton, in his customary fashion, proceeds to examine primary source material from our Founding Era with respect to Early Legal Commentaries; Views Of The Founding Fathers; Early Legislative Acts (including the Founders’ definition of the “militia”); and State Constitutions.
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“Even if it was practicable, would it be wise to disarm the good before the wicked cease from troubling?”
~ John Jay; Original Chief-Justice, U.S. Supreme Court, April 15, 1818.
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“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”
~ Richard Henry Lee; Signer of The Declaration & Framer of the Second Amendment in the First Congress.
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“And what country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”
~ Thomas Jefferson; U.S. President & signer of The Declaration, June 1776.
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“A free people ought ... to be armed.”
~ George Washington; some dead guy, January 8, 1790.
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There are bigger books out there that address the Second Amendment debate in greater detail, but if all you’re looking for is a quick but effective, battle-tested resource to give you the means and the confidence to annihilate your local Lib in a “Gun Rights” debate, DAVID BARTON’s booklet, THE SECOND AMENDMENT, provides all the ammunition you’ll need.
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Sunday, January 21, 2018

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO MY “SAKE PARTY” (Please RSVP)

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BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S: Movie Soundtrack
by Henry Mancini and his Orchestra
recorded: 1962
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Back in the mid-1980s, I had an idea for a “theme party” I wanted to throw. Unfortunately, life (lower case L) obstructed my plan and I never got around to it. {*Truth is, he never managed to save up enough money to buy friends to invite.*} But I did record four 90-minute cassette tapes of background music for the party that never was. (Remember, this was before recordable CDs and all the other technocrap.) 
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Oh, the music would have been great: Booker T And The MGs, Three Dog Night, Bobby Darin, Stevie Wonder, Muddy Waters, The Partridge Family, War, and Wild Cherry (guess which Funky song, White Boy!) But each side of every tape ended with MR. YUNIOSHI, the theme song for Mickey Rooney’s angry Japanese character in the movie, Breakfast At Tiffany’s. MR. YUNIOSHI was to be the cue for me -- wherever I was mixing, or whoever I was mixing it up with -- to prepare to turn over the tape.
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I may throw this party yet... someday. The house is going to be jammed -- floor to ceiling -- with helium-filled balloons, so as you push your way through them, you’ll never know who or what you’re about to run into. {*Fun, eh? If you’re smart, you’ll have a prior engagement.*} Hey, never mind that voice behind the curtain -- it IS going to be fun! But there is one thing that every person at this party will have in common: Regardless of who ends up kissing whom, or who ends up punching whom, or regardless of For Whom The Bell Tolls {*Sounds like it’s going to be an exhausting evening for Whom! I hope he or she is up to it.*}, each and every person will have knocked back a slug of SAKE as a prerequisite for gaining admittance to this soiree.
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SAKE (pronounced “Sock-ee”), in case you don’t know, is the traditional fermented Japanese beverage made from rice. It’s served hot in small ceramic cups. Being hot, it seems to assimilate in a person’s bloodstream fairly quickly and makes one feel real good, real fast. For many, it’s an “acquired taste”, although I took to it immediately. {*He’s an alky; he took to all booze before he took to the bus for elementary school.*} I have two nice sake sets that I purchased ages ago in Chinatown, near downtown Los Angeles, and you’ll need to suck a shot of sake before you’re permitted to enter my pagoda to hear MR. YUNIOSHI. {*And burst his bubble and pop his balloons!*}
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But MR. YUNIOSHI is far from being the only track I like from Henry Mancini’s BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S soundtrack. I’ve seen the movie a few times and I’m just not one of its biggest fans. But the music, now that’s another thing! BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (the film) won none of the Academy Awards, but the Oscars for “Best Music Score” and “Best Song” (MOON RIVER) went to Mr. Mancini. What does that tell you? {*Think, McFly! Think!*} This entire album is delicious; it’s one of my 10 or 15 most frequently played compact discs!
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It starts with the award-winning bittersweet song MOON RIVER, written by Mancini and the equally legendary Johnny Mercer. I love the song even if my favorite version was recorded later by Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. This is the only “song”, literally speaking, as it contains lyrics sung by Mancini’s Chorus. All other tracks are instrumentals unless you’re counting the Chorus singing “Oohs” and “Ahhs” on a couple of the other cuts.
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Some of the instrumental pieces have that unmistakable “Mancini” stamp: Distinctively pronounced beats (a la “The Pink Panther”). Others are the antithesis of that style, with a tremendously yearning emotional content conveyed through the subtle interplay of his impeccable Orchestra and the smooth harmonic layering of his Chorus of male and female voices doing little more than humming the melodies.
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And yet again, on some pieces, Mancini’s charts propel his dynamic, top-notch Orchestra into bright, soaring flights that seem almost on the verge of running off the pages and into improvisational exuberance. {*Don’tcha just love how he nearly sounds like he knows what he’s talking about?*} 
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I mean, listen to that Orchestra crank it up on THE BIG BLOW OUT, or SOMETHING FOR CAT, or LOOSE CABOOSE. Mancini directed highly accomplished musicians as befitting a man of his genius. And I never use the word “genius” lightly, but this man was indeed just that! How he was able to translate the action of a scene into corresponding “music pictures” in pieces like THE BIG HEIST and the playful striptease-cum-cartoon, HUB CAPS AND TAIL LIGHTS! {*Some would say, if you’ve got ‘em, flaunt ‘em.*}
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But nothing moves me more than SALLY’S TOMATO, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S, and HOLLY -- three instrumentals that float like some tear-drenched, melancholic sunbeam. They were recorded at the dawn of the 1960s, just before all hell broke loose in this country and we found ourselves embroiled in a cultural revolution that pierced an ineffable something deep within us and from which we’ll never recover. There’s a desperate “looking back at innocence” captured in these three pieces that crushes my heart and forces my eyelids closed. It’s a long ago memory of serene joy, it's a goldenshadow that’s gone and not returning. It’s long, gently swaying grass growing around the headstone of a deceased lover. {*Aw, cap it, will ya? Yer bumming everyone out.*}
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Alright then. Let me just say that this soundtrack is Five Star from top to bottom, and in short {*It’s too late for THAT!*}, there are two things that I really recommend you do: You should acquire a copy of Henry Mancini’s musical masterpiece, and later you should come to my SAKE PARTY. {*If you pass out, and you’re still there in the morning, he’s gonna treat you to BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S!*}
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

MOVE OVER, DAN BROWN; THE BIG DOG'S IN TOWN!

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BIBLE CODE BOMBSHELL
by R. Edwin Sherman
published: 2005
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As of this date, I have posted on Amazon.com 74 Reviews, 24 "So You'd Like To..." Guides, and 18 Listmania Lists. Now let's imagine, just for the sake of argument, that in reading through my Amazon "stuff" you happened to notice that the word "dog" appeared in one form or another in virtually everything I'd posted -- all 74 Reviews, all 24 Guides, and all 18 Lists. Would you accept that this might have occurred by SIMPLE CHANCE? Or would you be convinced that it was indicative of a deliberate design?
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If you answered "possibly SIMPLE CHANCE", then there is a strong "CHANCE" that you, my dear friend, are rather "SIMPLE" in mind... not that there's anything wrong with that. But I have some marvelous business opportunities I'd like to discuss with you!
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Well, the hidden Equidistant Letter Sequence (E.L.S.) codes that are illuminated in 'BIBLE CODE BOMBSHELL' are astronomically more indicative of intelligent design than even the ubiquitous "dog" hypothesis that I fabricated above.

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For example: Isaiah, chapter 53, from the Bible's Old Testament (documented to have existed at least 100 years before the birth of Christ, and more likely about 700 years prior) is a prophecy concerned with the coming of a Suffering Servant who would atone for the sins of mankind. Cloaked within that chapter at equidistant letter sequences are over 1,600 encoded references to Jesus, etc. Included are phrases such as "HE OFFENDED. THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS. HE IS RISEN INDEED" / "AND IN HIS NAME, AS HE COMMANDED, JESUS IS THE WAY" / "AND WHERE ARE THEY? THE SANHEDRIN IS FINISHED" / "FATHER, THE ASCENSION OF JESUS IS HEAVENLY" / "GOD WILL HAVE HIS OWN DAY" / "JESUS THE GIFT IS MASTER AND MY LORD" / "WONDER! JESUS IS THE TRUTH" / "JESUS IS SALVATION" / "MARY IS THE MOTHER OF GOD" / "DREADFUL DAY FOR MARY" / "SON OF ELOHIM" / "TRUE MESSIAH" / "WHO IS JESUS? MASTER"
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R. Edwin Sherman, an acknowledged expert in statistical analysis, has determined that the odds of these references, and the many others, appearing by chance beneath the plain text of Isaiah 53, are less than 1 in 2,189 followed by 192 zeroes. Meaning: There's effectively NO CHANCE!

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On page 78, the author concludes, "What has been mathematically proven is this: it is an established fact that the author of Isaiah 53 knew at least a century in advance the key details of the life and death of Jesus. In other words, the occurrence of this miracle has been scientifically established." And that does not even begin to factor in all of the encoded phrases found in Ezekiel 37, and other Biblical passages. (And you thought Dan Brown's silly 'DA VINCI CODE' was good stuff?)
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There's still much to learn, but in the "dog-eat-dog" Bible Code debate, R. Edwin Sherman has "unleashed" the "pit bull" of Bible Code publications to date. He answers the skeptics' arguments and shows conclusively that at least some portions of The Bible were encoded by a prescient Superintelligence. Yes, the code exists -- that's not the question now. The question has become: Will it affect how you live your life in any appreciable way?
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2005, DECEMBER 10th ADDENDUM:
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I find that one reviewer has panned this book by casting aspersions on the author's facility with the Hebrew language. He writes, "It should be mandatory for an author of Bible codes to be able to at least read Hebrew but unfortunately it is not."
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Since R. Edwin Sherman is not a Hebrew expert, he collaborates with one. As 'BIBLE CODE BOMBSHELL' clearly states, all of Sherman's research is closely examined by Holocaust survivor Nathan Jacobi, Ph.D. Jacobi (an agnostic) received a Ph.D. in physics from Weizman Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. He received an M.Sc. in physics and a B.Sc. in mathematics from Bar-Illan University in Ramat-Gan, Israel. He is a retired college professor with more than 30 years of research, development and scientific computing in applied physics, aerospace and geophysics. He has taught atomic and molecular physics, quantum mechanics, college algebra, trigonometry and analysis, analytic geometry, and calculus -- in Israel and the U.S. Jacobi received a thorough education in both Biblical and contemporary Hebrew. He reads the news daily in Hebrew, converses with his wife in Hebrew, and has taught Hebrew for several years.
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There are people who hate the Truth, and that's their prerogative as free individuals. But it should be mandatory for a reviewer of a book to have at least read the book he reviews. And YOU can quote ME on that!
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Thursday, January 11, 2018

WET DREAMS

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THE CALIFORNIA STYLE: 
California Watercolor Artists 1925-1955
edited by: Gordon McClelland & Jay Last
published: 1985
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THE CALIFORNIA STYLE is an absolutely gorgeous book that I wouldn't even dream of giving less than 5 Stars to! 
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There is a small 2-shelf bookcase that sits next to my bed and it holds my irreplaceable treasures, condensed into one space so that they could all be gathered quickly in the event of some "disaster." Here you find my HOLY BIBLE (with 24 years' worth of notes); my 1st edition copy of Mark Twain's ROUGHING IT; WORKS OF HENRY DAVID THOREAU, given to me by a friend only a few years before he was killed by a car thief attempting to outrun the police. Here is one of the very greatest American novels, A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN -- a birthday gift from my parents; WATERING THE TREE OF LIBERTY, the autobiography of my idol, the counter-revolutionary Norwegian General, Yoey O'Dogherty; and all of my old sketch books; and my unpublished writings (which, incidentally, only outnumber my published writings 321.5 to 0.) And here you'll also find... THE CALIFORNIA STYLE! 
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I discovered THE CALIFORNIA STYLE in the UCLA bookstore when I worked on the campus in the late 1980's and I was immediately captivated by it. I went back to look through it time after time. I'd visit it before reporting to work and again during my dinner break. Day after day, night after night this went on. After a week, I heard that belligerent voice in my head that so often got me into trouble, and the voice said: {"Wassamotta U, Stephen? G'wan an' buy da damn book awready! Gid id over wid, will ya?!"} So I did, and I've never regretted it. It was the first and only time that the voice gave me good advice. How many times I've escaped into the pages of this book, sucked into a rich kaleidoscope of places, activities, fantasies and the mysteries of other times and worlds! 
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The title is a bit of a misnomer in that there is no real stylistic commonality to be found throughout these paintings. The name derives from the fact that all of these watercolorists worked (and often taught) in California between the years of '25 and '55. 
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The reproductions are entrancing, gorgeous. And the myriad styles, subjects, and techniques are executed masterfully. Prior to finding this book, I had mistakenly thought of watercolor as the poor artist's medium -- Oil Paint's snot-nosed little brother. Ah, how wrong I was! I now doubt that the variety of effects obtainable in watercolor can be effectively duplicated by the greatest artists in any other medium. 
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These pictures draw your eyes like a vacuum and beg you to study them slowly, carefully. Experience the lonely, somber tones of Gretzner's 1950's LOBSTER HOUSE - MONTEREY; feel the heat emanating from Gibson's 1950's SOLEDAD CROSSING; explore the frozen moment of midday light in Teague's 1960's SOL Y SOMBRA; squint into the blue breeze of Irving's 1950's SWINGING SIGN; sing with the pastels of Wachtel's 1930's SYCAMORES; melt into the liquid thoughts of Robert's pensive girl in the 1950's DAYDREAMS; or laugh with the playful looseness of Johnson's 1930's I STREET BRIDGE, which looks like it could have modeled for the background cells of Disney's '101 Dalmations'. There's so much loveliness here that I hardly know where to start! 
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I actually credit this book, along with the works of Edward Hopper (my favorite artist), for teaching me the meaning of "authentic" art. 
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If you can find a copy of it, you'll likely also find that this book is not cheap today. But if it makes you feel any better, I bought my copy for a hefty $50.+ back in '88! Taking into account 16 years of inflation and its current scarcity, the steep asking price for a used copy of THE CALIFORNIA STYLE is not so out of line. 
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Like the pictures in my high school yearbooks -- which this book abuts in my bookcase -- the pictures in THE CALIFORNIA STYLE may represent images from a distant past, but this makes them treasures all the more! 
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Monday, January 8, 2018

LET YOUR WALLET DO THE WALKING THRU THE BLUE PAGES!

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THE BLUE PAGES: A Directory Of Companies
by Angie Crouse & The Center For Responsive Politics
published: 2010
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I’m going to begin this book review with a little story, and if you’ll just hang in there, you’ll eventually see how it relates to THE BLUE PAGES.
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Back in 1972, my Pa was the manager of The Machinists, a Little League baseball team whose star shortstop was my little Bro, Napoleon (a nickname). Early one morning -- on “Picture Day” no less, when every boy’s uniform should have looked neat and clean -- outfielder Graham (always a troublemaker) got sassy with Napoleon, and the boys did what boys sometimes will do. Graham was only about twice Napoleon’s size. But we’ve all heard the old adage, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the will and anger in Napoleon!”
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One of the boys told my Pa, “Hey! Mr. McCarthy! Graham and Napoleon are fighting in the outfield!” He saw the knot of boys cheering in the distance and he ran full-tilt to break it up. But as he drew nearer, he saw that Graham was getting quite a thrashing, and (as he loved to tell for years afterwards), he “slowed down to a jog and then a stroll.” Only a bad dad would unnecessarily spoil his son’s fun! We’ve all heard the expression about taking someone “out to the woodshed”. Well, on Picture Day 1972, Napoleon took Graham "out to right field".
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A year or two later, while we were both in junior high school, after an argument, that same Graham and I arranged an after-school meeting in a nearby alley, and as is always the case, news got out and there was an eager gathering of kids in that alley awaiting the two combatants. I can no longer recall the circumstances, but I’m sure Graham must have instigated the fracas because I never started a fight I didn’t start.
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Graham threw the first punch -- a right hook -- which I blocked and countered with my own right hook, introducing my right fist to his left ear. Graham threw the right a second time, I blocked it again, and again bopped him in the left ear. I guess my opponent was thinking, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” or maybe, “Third time’s a charm”, because he opted for the right hook yet again, and I countered as before. Graham was a slow learner, and whereas he was merely a half-wit when the fight began, he was undoubtedly a half-deaf half-wit when it ended. Which it did when an old man stuck his head over a fence Wilson-like from ‘Home Improvement’ and mentioned "calling the cops". Every kid ran in every direction! Ah, yes, beating up on Graham -- it was just a McCarthy Family Tradition.
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This past Christmas day, our Sister gave Napoleon THE BLUE PAGES as a gift. It was the biggest hit of the day. She gave me a coffee mug with the BILL OF RIGHTS printed on the side. When hot coffee is poured into it, your rights begin disappearing (i.e., as you “wake up” you notice how the federal government is stealing your rights! Clever idea.) But I couldn’t keep my hands off of Napoleon’s BLUE PAGES. How did I ever live without this book?
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This publication, THE BLUE PAGES, was compiled by a few Leftists and it intended to inform the Libs which of those big, bad companies are giving money to the Republicans, and you know, not honoring the civil liberties of their employees by failing to offer insurance coverage to their “alternative lifestyle partners”, etc. And conversely, which “good” companies should be supported because they support the indefensible and sundry Socialist agendas.
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But the great thing about this book is that it can be used as unintended. In other words, every time Graham threw his right, he dropped his left and lunged, opening himself up for a powwow (or maybe that should be pow!-ow!!) between my right fist and his left ear. In essence, I was using Graham’s punch against him, just like I’m now using THE BLUE PAGES to monetarily punish the very companies it was meant to assist.
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THE BLUE PAGES includes over 4,000 company entries from every consumer sector. It first notes the dollar amount given to the Democrat and/or Republican party by the top three executives for each company during the 2003-04 donation cycle (granted this is now dated and limited information, but it’s a start). Then there’s a small body of text that highlights the significant lawsuits resolved or pending, history of corporate fines, positive and/or negative ecological impact, the social / sexual / gender policies, and the insurance coverage offered by each company.
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I’ll say this for THE BLUE PAGES, although the astute and even just semi-astute reader will detect the “Left Lean”, it’s more balanced than one would anticipate from a Libby publication. It doesn’t shy away from spotlighting infractions against the Left-leaning companies like you might expect. This book really does seem fair enough to be used effectively by both Socialists (Democrats and Republicans), and true conservatives (me, myself, and I).
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I’m an “Independent” Constitutional Conservative, so I detest both the Democrats and the Republicans. But at least the Republican party says the right things even though it’s lying about what it intends to do. Both parties stand for global, totalitarian Socialism. But the Dems institute it quicker and I’d prefer to see our Republic die slower. For many years, I’ve been boycotting all goods from Communist countries and others with terrible human rights abuses (such as India and Indonesia). But now I can boycott the most immoral offenders in THIS country as well!
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THE BLUE PAGES is one of those books you’ll open to look up one thing and find yourself buried in for the next hour. It’s filled with interesting information such as:
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* Although PepsiCo gave nearly 70% of its monetary donations to the Republican party, it “received top scores from the Human Rights Campaign 2004 Corporate Equality Index for its pro-gay, -lesbian, -bisexual, and –transgender policies.” I wish I drank Pepsi so I could quit!
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* The Estee Lauder cosmetics company “earns high marks for its... longtime extension of health care benefits to its employees’ same-sex partners.” Well, I’ve been meaning to quit attending those midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show anyway.
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* With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good, right? They gave 99% of their dough to the Republicans, but a 2005 report found that their jams advertised as “100% Fruit” often contained less than 50% fruit. Oh well, at least they weren’t giving their money to the fruits.
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* Good news! I can start eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream because it’s now owned by Unilever which gave only 11% of its money to the Dems. I’m gonna gorge myself on ice cream this year, gain 300 pounds and then sue Ben & Jerry for creating an addictive product that contributes to obesity and clogged arteries. (I mean, that’s how the liberals do it, isn’t it?)
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* Get this! Hooters of America paid two million bucks to settle a class action suit filed by men [sic] denied the opportunity to serve as “Hooters Girls.” Though it was ordered to create gender-neutral positions, the company still maintains that “being female is reasonably necessary” to be a Hooters Girl. Sounds “reasonable” to me. Now, THAT’S a hoot!
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I love this book! It ain’t perfect but it’s my favorite Christmas gift that I didn’t receive this year. I guess I won’t be eating at liberal Denny’s anymore, but then who wants a Grand Slam Breakfast when they can have a pint of “Cherry Garcia”?
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PERSONAL MESSAGE FOR GRAHAM: Hey, buddy, if you’re still out there somewhere (i.e., someone hasn’t beaten you six feet under yet), my Sister is lookin’ fer you. She says it’s her turn!
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A WUNDERFUL BOOK FOR SCREENPLAY RIGHTERS!

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SCREENPLAY: The Foundations Of Screenwriting
by Syd Field
published: 1979
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I red SCREENPLAY many years ago before righting my own movie, BILLY 'N' BILLIE. Iliked the book. It was reel good at showing you what elimints are need in construkting a movie that will cell.

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There was only one thing that buged me and that was he says that all good movies follow a certin pairadime. But then on page 118 he says "What about NASHVILLE? Is that an exception?" He then shows how it doesnt seem like it but NASHVILLE reely does follow the pattern. Then he winds it up by saying "Robert Altman... films may look randomly composed but in reality they are executed with sculpted finesse. NASHVILLE fits the paradigm to a tee." (It seems I mispelled paradigm earlyer but you knew what I ment right?) But what bugs me is that NASHVILLE reely doesnt fit the paradigm to a tee at all and SYD FIELD didnt have the curage of his conviktions to come out and say so. and ferthermore NASHVILLE is not a good movie at all. I tryed to watch it three times and never made it. But the rest of this book is good.
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My movie BILLY 'N' BILLIE nobody bought but even tho that happened to me I still think this book is good and I wreckamend it. My copy is totaly dogeared! I still dont no why my movie didnt cell but I might re-right it today on my lunch brake and try it again. Goodluck everyone!!!
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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