Month: April 2014

The Man Who Saved the Children….

I will never forget the moment I saw my first documentary which introduced me to Oskar Schindler and his amazing story which was immortalized in the film by Steven Spielberg in his 1993 historical drama titled “Schindler’s List”. I’m sure it’s a story and a film that most are familiar with by now.

But last night I was unexpectedly introduced to yet another man whom I was not in the least familiar with whose courage and humanity seemed to humble my sheer existence. That would be the story of an English gentleman named Nicholas Winton who by all accounts had saved the lives of some 669 children, mostly Jews, from almost certain death in the early beginnings of World War II in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia.

Nicholas Winton(Nicholas Winton – Click to Enlarge)

His story was televised last night on CBS on a segment of “60 Minutes”. I found his story mesmerizing and very touching. So much so that I could not in good consciences not share what I had seen. If you did by chance see this program then I assume you may share similar sentiments as my own, but if not I strongly recommend that you take the 15 minutes or so required to watch the video to which I have posted below.

You can no longer view archived videos on the CBS 60-Minutes website without being a paying subscribing member so I have had to remove the links to the two previous videos I had on this post. I did find one of the videos on YouTube, the better of the two although lacking in quality, but it is the same report as broadcast on 60 Minutes.

Certainly there are some of you who may already be aware of this man’s story but for me, I was not unfortunately. In these days and times it’s always uplifting to get a little re-enforcement in the humanity of mankind.

Belated Happy Birthday Greetings to Doris Day….

Doris Day(Doris Day & friends celebrate her 90th birthday – Born April 3rd)

Although it is somewhat belated, I want to wish one of my favorite ladies, Doris Day, a very happy birthday. First and foremost I have always been a fan of her music although in the fifties and sixties she became a huge box-office draw with regard to her movies and was ranked the #1 box-office star from 1960 thru 1964 and she was consistently in the Top 10 from 1959 thru 1966.

There have been so many of her songs that I have truly loved and enjoyed over the years and sometimes with a prolific artist such as she, it is almost impossible to pick a favorite song from all her hits but in her case it was a fairly easy task for me.

In 1948 she was cast in the first feature film of her movie career, a romantic comedy titled “Romance on the High Seas” which also starred Jack Carson, Janis Page and Don DeFore. It would feature one of her first hits, “It’s Magic”, which would top the Pop Charts at Number 1 that same year. And although it did not win the Oscar, the song was nominated for Best Original Song for the 1949 Academy Awards celebration.

Romance on the High Seas

During the film she sang the song twice, once when she and her love interest were having lunch at a quaint little local restaurant on a cruise stop and once again at the end of the film. I loved the scene in the film at the restaurant where she first sang the song but unfortunately no video clip exists for that scene so I have opted to show her film ending performance at the end of the film which is just a great.

Sometimes I think that many of us often have special relationships with certain songs that we have come to love over the years. I know I have had several of those special relationships but one of my favorite moments is when I fell in love with both Doris Day and her music on that cruise ship. And from time to time I see the film again on television and fall in love all over again.

Got any of those awkward family photos?

Thursday night on the NBC Nightly News their closing segment featured a photographic exhibit which was opening in Santa Monica, California at the California Heritage Museum. You can see the brief video newscast segment by clicking ‘here‘. The exhibit was featuring a number of photographs from Mike Bender and Doug Churnack who own a website called “Awkward Family Photos” which they had begun back in 2009. They began posting a few of their crazy and awkward family photos on the website and it eventually grew exponentially as other folks begin sending them their awkward and silly photographs.

Most all of us like these type photographs and up until this news story Thursday evening I wasn’t aware of the website so I thought I would post this today in case there might be others who would be interested in this photographic humor.

Looking through some old photos I could only come across a couple that I thought might fit the subject category. In the photo below my dad has just returned from an all-day duck hunting trip and has fared fairly well. My mom took a few photos of my dad with his ducks but then what kid wouldn’t want a piece of the action. So I got to hold all the dead ducks with the exception of one. My sister just had to join in so she got her own duck. I have to admit without sis and her duck, this photo would have just been ordinary…

Judy & Alan(Click to Enlarge)

In the photo below as usual I am doing all I can do apparently to ruin what would otherwise be a nice family photo but my antics obviously do not go unnoticed by one of my uncles sitting on the couch…

Tarver Family(Click to Enlarge)

Perhaps some of you can fare better with those awkward photographs than I but if not, you can always go to the “Awkward Family Photo” website and get an ample supply. 😀

A brief glance into my life as a fish monger….

Pure Food Fish Market(The Pure Food Fish Market – Click to Enlarge)

It’s that time of year again – time to go get a part time job delivering newspapers, order my fresh Alaskan Halibut from my favorite fish market and then continue with my paper route until I get that Halibut order paid off. But… if you are a Halibut lover I doubt little explanation beyond that will be necessary.

Tis true, one of my favorite fish, Alaskan Halibut, are back in season and available from my favorite fish market. I order my Halibut from the Pure Food Fish Market, a fish market located in the Pike Place Market which is a public market overlooking the Elliot Bay waterfront in Seattle, Washington. The Pike Place Market opened in 1907 and is the oldest operating public farmer’s market in the United States and the area is also one of Seattle’s most popular tourist destinations. The photo above is of the subject fish market by the way.

Monday I got an email from the fish market informing me that they were having a 2-day sale on fresh Alaskan Halibut with 25% off. Now how, I ask you, is anyone going to ignore that little tidbit of information? I placed my order at around 9:30am by email with the Seattle market and just a little over 24 hours later at around 11:30am here in central Arkansas my brief life as a fishmonger began….

Halibut 01(Halibut Shipping Container – Click to Enlarge)

Halibut 02(Chilled Halibut Container – Click to Enlarge)

Halibut 03(Fresh Alaskan Halibut Whole Slabs – Click to Enlarge)

Halibut 04(Fresh Alaskan Halibut Portioned and Bagged – Click to Enlarge)

Well there you have it! If you’re a Halibut lover it’s really too bad you live so far away so I can’t share… heh, heh, heh. 😀

Bon appétit!

If only blogs could talk….

Several days ago I did a post on the topic of the nightly national news broadcasters and which of their newscasters might appear on my most liked and/or least liked lists. It was most interesting to read the takes on the subject offered by others.

But that got me to thinking about another area along those same lines and that was with regard to those personalities who we often find narrating a documentary or even a television commercial from time to time. There are indeed some eloquent voices amongst the many that travel the narration highways and byways.

How cool would it be to have a narrator for our blogs? Imagine if you will all your blog entries being narrated to your visitors by the likes of James Earl Jones or Sam Elliot. I suspect that if you had the right narrator, your blog would be flooded with visitors. In fact, it might even intimidate us in large measure into improving our writing skills – for those of course who even need any help.

But to those favorites, well I have compiled a collection of five (5) that I feel would round out a “Top Five” listing for me….

Blog Commentators(My Top Five Narrators – Click to Enlarge)

Movie Review – “The Hunter” (2011)

4-Star Post Master

The Hunter - 2011 - 01

I ran across this movie last night and although it was unfamiliar to me, the fact that Willem Dafoe was in the starring role quickly caught my attention. He is an actor whose work and films I have really enjoyed watching over the years.

The film was appropriately titled “The Hunter” and Willem Dafoe played the role of a mercenary who was hired by a large biotech European company to go to the island State of Tasmania which is located some 240 miles off the southern coast of the continent of Australia. Although the scientific community at large presumed the Tasmanian tiger to be extinct, there were a few who thought there might still be a small remnant lurking about. This biotech company was hiring this mercenary to go and kill this thought to be last tiger, gather samples of its DNA and other body tissues, and destroy any remnants of the animal. The company thought there to be great commercial value in the DNA and destroying any other sources would give them complete control over any by-products created from the source.

Along with the adventure and the hunt Willem Dafoe begins to cultivate a relationship with a woman and her two children who live in the backwoods in an old house where he will stay while on his assignment. This relationship with the woman and her children provides a great backdrop to the story. As usual, the entertainment value of any movie is within the eye of the beholder but if this sounds interesting and suits your movie values, I think you will enjoy this one….

Close Encounters of the Fellowman Kind….

I happened to have caught a short segment on the PBS half-hour news broadcast this past evening that was both interesting and uplifting. I think many of us often fantasize about a society that is in fact much more social, friendly, courteous and respectful of their fellowman.

A young lady in New York City, Madeline Schwartzman, took on a personal project of interacting with people on her commute back and forth to work each day on the subway. Each day in her commute she asks select fellow commuters to write a poem in a notebook that she carries. Some refuse of course while others accept.

Madeline takes the poems and posts them on the website, 365 Day Subway:Poems by New Yorkers. Not so much for the poem’s sake but rather to show that we really do seem to have a desire to connect as humans and share our hopes, wishes and personal thoughts. But we choose rather to stay locked in our own little worlds cutting ourselves off from that deeper social interaction.

I have posted a link to the PBS segment below which is a little less than 4-minutes long, give it a listen and see if you don’t come away thinking that what the world needs now is a little more of this….

Subway Poetry Project Connects New Yorkers

The Big-Three Network’s TV Nightly News Anchors….

I can’t offer any real explanation as to why but for the past few weeks I have been thinking from time to time about the personalities that anchor our national evening news television stations on our three major networks, that being NBC, CBS and ABC of course. Probably the underlying reason for all this contemplation is because I really don’t care that much for any of the three current news anchors and can’t help longing for my all-time favorites. Who might they be you ask….

Best of the Best Male Television News Anchors(Best of the Best – Male Television News Anchors)

Yep, I indeed have my favorites, both past and present as I am sure you do also, assuming of course you have any interest whatsoever in national news. My personal choices of favorites are based solely on likability, presence, delivery and believability. I am completely disregarding network affiliations. It also includes the living and the dead and only those to which I have had exposure. For example, I was too young for Edward R. Morrow and although he was supposedly a great one, I only have history to confirm that status.

Don’t care much for the current three anchors but I’m never without suggestions when it comes to this particular subject. If anyone were to call me these are the ones I would suggest along with a few honorable mentions….

First Choice Male Television News Anchors(First Choice for Current Male Television News Anchors)

First-Choice-Female-Television-News-Anchors(First Choice for Current Female Television News Anchors)

Honorable-Mention-Choices-Male-Television-News-Anchors(Honorable Mention Choices for Television News Anchors)

And as far as my least favorite go, well I have a few that easily made it to the top of those two lists. Again, if I may share….

Least-Favorite-Male-Television-News-Anchors(Least Favorite Male Television News Anchors)

Least-Favorite-Female-Television-News-Anchors(Least Favorite Female Television News Anchors)

I’m fairly certain that none of the networks will be in touch with me anytime in the near future with regard to recommendations regarding their anchors or for that matter, anything else.

Well, that’s my 2-cents worth on the subject I suppose. By the way, if you have the least bit of curiosity as to why I seem to have neglected including the three major 24-hour television news networks in the conversation, well I actually didn’t overlook them. They simply had no eligible candidates to even be in the running – but hey… that’s just me! Guess it’s time to sign off, now that I have probably stirred up a measure of hate and discontent among the natives but don’t blame me, I just work here! “Goodnight Chet…. Goodnight David…. Goodnight Alan”‘!

My aunt just had a vasectomy but she’s doing fine….

Medical-Terminology-for-Dummies

Why is it that medical terms often seem to border on some type of a foreign language, at least for me? I was recently reminded of a rather humorous incident regarding medical terminology that occurred many years ago and thought I would share that here today.

I have never been one who has been on top of the latest medical terminologies at all. Just not something that seems to find a sticking place in my brain. I can go to the doctor and then the next day I can’t remember one medical term he had used in talking to me about any of my medical issues. Same way with medications, as much as we hear about acetaminophen in pain killers these days, I had to actually look it up on Goggle to add it to this sentence. I just cannot retain medical terms.

So to my little story…. and to try and make a long story short, my mom and dad had been divorced for a number of years at the time and my dad had remarried and lived in a town located some 150 miles away from Little Rock. I didn’t see him all that often, especially since I was well into my thirties at the time and was usually working out of state.

At the particular time of this incident he had come to Little Rock for knee or back surgery and the surgery had been performed in a local hospital. I was in Little Rock at the time and went over one evening to visit him in the hospital. We were pretty much engaged in small talk when he asked me how my aunt Edith (my mother’s sister) was doing.

Now my aunt had been dealing with breast cancer and had been having a pretty rough go of it to say the least. She was not doing well and eventually opted for breast surgery and had seemed to have somewhat stabilized after the surgery for a period of time.

Now my dad knew my aunt had breast cancer but was not aware she had had surgery. So when he asked me how my aunt was doing I immediately responded that she was doing much better and had just had a vasectomy. My dad immediately got a strange look on his face and asked, “What?” I of course repeated myself immediately thinking he may not have heard me or was simply concerned, “She just had a vasectomy – but she is doing fine.”

Well, he pretty much looked like a deer caught in someone’s headlights when all of a sudden it hit me what I was saying and I immediately cried out, “Oh… I mean mastectomy!” Well my dad started laughing so hard I thought they were going to have to come in and put him on life support and I was really embarrassed. I mean really, really embarrassed.

Turns out that when the account of the incident got back to my aunt she just thought it was absolutely hilarious. One of her sons who was at the time a practicing physician caught wind of it and found no humor in it what so ever…. 🙁