Still adding to my Avocado Memories page. This time I set the Way Back machine to "only" thirty years ago: 4th of July, 1979.
I also disclose how I used to play Spider-Man by climbing up the chimney.
As a result of posting a desire to have a Christmas ornament from my youth (scroll to bottom), a reader tipped me off to an e-Bay auction which I bid on and won. Now three of them are heading my way! How cool! Thanks!
I like this recent quote and illustration from my desk calendar.
For years I have maintained that, in April 1865, the Federal army, hardened by Civil War and led by visionary commanders like Grant and Sherman who fully understood new methods of warfare, could whip any army in Europe. It was an arguing point between me and a historically-minded friend. He is now reading John Keegan's new book, "The American Civil War" and has come across this quote:
“By 1865 the Union army, which had begun as a replica of the British army, and the Confederate army, which had not existed at all, had grown into the largest and most efficient armies in the world, divided and subdivided into elaborate operational formations and units comprising every branch of military specialisation. Though dismissed by European military grandees as amateur and unprofessional, each, but particularly the United States Army, outmatched the French, the Prussian and the Russian in up-to-date experience and, but for the interposing Atlantic, would have threatened any of them with defeat.”
I always like it when highly-regarded historical professionals like Keegan come around to my point of view. I shall not name my friend to spare him the excruciating embarrassment of my saying, "Told ya so." Which I would never say, "Told ya so." Saying "Told ya so" is not my style at all.
Now I just need him to understand that a historical Arthur is more important than the literary King Arthur.
I've been watching some of Video Vault's documentaries as of late, any one of which could serve as the basis for an extended blog.
Nanook of the North (1922) - An 87 year old film that is still viable and interesting. It describes the day to day battle for survival of the mighty Arctic hunter Nanook and his family. The film has interest on two levels: the story depicted therein and the story of the circumstances of its making (described in part in the wikipedia article). Nanook's name was really Allakariallak, he used a gun while hunting and not a spear as shown, one of his wives really wasn't his wife and he died not by starvation as is often maintains, but probably of tuberculosis. Anyway, it's nice to link a face and a film work with this well known name. (Which appears as a lyric in a Frank Zappa song, by the way.)
Hell's Highway: The True Story of Highway Safety Films (2002) - Like everyone else in my generation, I was subjected to the viewing of grisly traffic safety films in high school. "Signal 30" and "Red Asphalt" were two memorable ones. This is a collection of representative films with an account of the Ohio-based production company that made them. When I saw it again I recalled a scene from "Signal 30" from my youth: a man being picked up from the ground at an accident site who was frozen in pain and clenching the ground. Stuff like that gets easily imprinted upon an impressionable mind. Did these films make me a better teen driver? Like everyone else I was determined to be a responsible driver and not take risks when I exited the classroom. Being a twentysomething behind the wheel, however, was a different matter.
Second City: First Family of Comedy (2006) - This is a documentary about the history of the celebrated Second City comedy troupe, based in Chicago and Toronto. A list of alumni reads like a who's who in modern comedy. I've blogged before about my admiration for the old SCTV show. Comedienne Catherine O'Hara, a Second City alumnus, is often described as having an almost religiously cultish fan base - I guess I'm a sycophant.
You've seen her in Christopher Guest's mockumentaries, where's she's great, but I think her best work was with SCTV.
It just wouldn't be Christmas without a family viewing of her Lola Heatherton character singing, "Baby, baby my heart's breaking/Boo hoo hoo" (see image above) or her hysterics at the fireplace as she reflects on her life and failed loves. (Lola Heatherton's Especially Special Christmas Special - "The Love Spirit.")
I could go on, but this blog entry is long enough. Some other day.
If you don't have the SCTV Christmas DVD - what are you waiting for? These skits and lore have been a part of my family's Christmas since they were first aired in 1981 and 1982.
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