These simple two words sent me back to the past. The words I often heard. His voice always thunderous above my head, even if I was standing level to him. He made me look up to him, always. He made me come to him when he moved, the most annoying. A father shouldn’t change positions so much, but mine did, constantly.
There were times he crept around like a spider, feeling the vibrations on his legs. I fooled myself many times thinking he was something to not be afraid of. Other times he hopped around, out of control, like a child on a pogo stick, leaving impressionable dents to the floor and my pride. No one ever felt safe around my father. My friends didn’t understand him.
This wasn’t even the worst part. It was when he questioned your existence that made you feel tiny, as if your right to breathe the same air as he did was a tragedy. The constant taunting about how he wanted to drain my blood and refill it with someone else so we had one thing less in common.
“Did you hear me? You overstepped your boundaries again.”
He put enough emphasis on the word, again, that I thought he was done. He was not.
“Did I raise a daughter so stupid? Is this my last reward for being your father? You blessing me with utter senselessness! I don’t even know how you live with your pitiful self.”
I glanced at his wrinkled face. He seemed to have aged a few years in the past ten minutes. I could tell he was at a breaking point. The point when he felt when his personal welfare was threatened. Whatever left was inside him unhinged more, making his half empty heart, emptier. His face twisted into a disturbing expression. This was a record for him. I believe he had reached a personal best.
You must keep screaming inside so your lungs don’t give out. You must picture your flailing arms calm when they are anxious. This was what my brother told me in order to deal with him. How easy for him to say. He stayed in his little bubble until the day he turned 18, and never turned back when he left home.
I had worn my game face before, and because this was definitely a game, I made sure I had additional layers this time. I wasn’t willing to be a pawn anymore on this family chessboard. As I knocked every demand and threat he said to me from the board, I faced the realism of it all. As I tossed every shameful thing he did into the burning garbage can below, I was up for the challenge. As I was no longer willing to have him spit such hatred at me, I was prepared.
Eventually, the king will be knocked off his pedestal, and I intended to do just that. His tall shadow wouldn’t belong to him much longer, but first I said some words.
“Yes, father, I heard you, and no, you didn’t raise me to be stupid. I’m actually quite smart if you cared to notice.”
The past twenty years came up in my throat like a bad case of indigestion. I was ready to get rid of it. I was ready to move forward.
“Now, I believe it is my turn to ask you some questions.”
He looked at me, holding surprise at the corners of his mouth, and I knew. If you take away a spider’s legs before a fight has begun, there isn’t much to stand on but false hope and flawed expectations.
Strength and Beauty
Family of Four
Sunlight on Water
I’m finally done with this book to give it a proper recommendation and review. This book has gotten mixed reviews, as do most things, but I’d say it is worthy enough. The content isn’t so much about Patton’s military accomplishments or failures, but about how Patton himself viewed himself during them. It’s about the psychological make up of Patton. It’s not surprising he was a proponent of bathing in as many turbulent waters as possible. The short time he lived on this planet might have been a blessing, as he wasn’t very in tune to the inner working of himself, in particular his emotions. His abrasive personality and tough bravado was partly due to his belief system: you must be ready for war at any time.
He took pride in training his men as much as when he led them into battle. He found his courage and reason for living in war. Where many ran away from it, he jumped feet first into the dangerous areas, and only retreated when he felt that he was still not afraid of dying. One might say he lived his life recklessly. He believed he was born great and was the reincarnation of many past men involved in battle. He kept a journal religiously or as the writer, Alan Axelrod, a diary. In it you see the other side of him, someone who was fragile and sensitive to criticism.
The author does some jumping with Patton’s timeline. It might be seen as jarring. For example, at one point he is talking about him alive, and then soon after he’s talking about him dead. He believes Patton to be the greatest general ever to have lived, which some might argue. I don’t have that much knowledge with comparing generals to say if he was or wasn’t, but the fact he had such a hard time controlling his temper, it would be logical to think others would come before him. This doesn’t diminish his natural ability to see fresh solutions and make difficult decisions during stressful times.
This book basically focuses on his Army path to stardom, ultimately landing at Lieutenant General, and then ultimately dying in a freak accident in 1945 although some speculate it was deliberate. He was 60 years old and buried at Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial in Luxembourg City.
A Soldier’s Burial
by George S. Patton
Not midst the chanting of the Requiem Hymn,
Nor with the solemn ritual of prayer,
Neath misty shadows from the oriel glass,
And dreamy perfume of the incensed air,
Was he interred;
But the subtle stillness after fight,
And the half light between the night and the day,
We dragged his body all besmeared with mud,
And dropped if, clod-like back into the clay.
Yet who shall say that he was not content,
Or missed the prayers, or drone of chanting choir,
He who had heard all day the Battle Hymn
Sung on all sides by a thousand throats of fire.
What painted glass can lovelier shadows cost
Than those the evening skies shall ever shed,
While mingled with their light, Red Battle’s Sun
Completes in magic colors o’er our dead
The flag for which they died.
If you want to read what happens to roughly the other 50% of an animal after it dies, then this is the book for you. It’s a short book of only 99 pages, but there’s a lot of information in it. I’m not going to go on an environmental rant about how you should not eat meat and get up in your space for not recycling. It’s up to you to decide what your contributions will or will not be in your lifetime. We’re not built to think the same way for a reason.
It includes a comprehensive list of animal ingredients and possibly derived animal ingredients. These are the words you can’t pronounce and spell by heart. It discusses vegan nutrients and alternatives, as well highlights basic nutrition and origins of vegetarianism. It goes into moderate depth of alcoholic beverages. German beers seem to take the top prize as most are vegan. It offers animal organization contact information, cruelty free products, and recommended literature.
Bottom line, this book is a reference manual. It goes beyond the act of killing an animal. It isn’t even a book about animal rights, not outright, and don’t think it’s preachy. I definitely don’t abide by completely vegan standards in what I eat or use. Some of the information can be mind boggling. Vegan jewelry? Labeled non-dairy when it is? Animal blood found in items you wouldn’t think? If you want to a book to browse when you have a little bit of free time here and there, this is the one for you. It jogs your brain and educating yourself is half the battle. Do what you can with what you have, and enjoy if you get a copy of it.
Here’s a list of the major genres recognized by AFI. There are many to choose from, old and new, and my examples are ones I’ve recently watched the first time or again because I could and did.
Animated includes images primarily created by computer or hand and the characters are voiced by actors and actresses.
Zootopia from 2016, a 3D computer-animated comedy, is a movie I thoroughly enjoyed. It involves a rabbit named Judy, striking out on her own in a city called Zootopia, to be part of its police force. She finds herself having to work with her enemy, the fox, in order to solve a crime, while also proving herself to the police chief. The humor is on point, and is a movie for almost all ages.
Fantasy is when live-action characters inhabit imagined settings and/or experience situations that transcend the rules of the natural world.
The NeverEnding Story (Die unendiliche Geschichte) from 1984, a fantasy, is a movie that keeps on giving. It involves Bastian, a child who is routinely picked on, and finds refuge in a book. He becomes entranced in the story, and specifically the characters of Falcor (flying dragon) and Atreyu (warrior child). The movie has gotten flack for its special effects and ending, but back in the day it completely captured my attention and heart. It still does. The nostalgia of the 80s.
Gangster centers on organized crime or maverick criminals in a twentieth century setting.
Black Mass from 2015, a gangster movie, is a book adaptation. It’s about the relationship between James Bulger, known as Whitey, and the FBI, in particular with agent John Connolly. It is one of the best acting performances by Johnny Depp. The other one that comes to mind is when he played John Wilmot, the 2nd Earl of Rochester in Libertine. It’s a movie I didn’t have a hard time watching because the FBI and gang activity are personal interests, but even if they weren’t, it had enough dramatic tension to fill a large table of beer mugs.
Science Fiction marries a scientific or technological premise with imaginative speculation.
Snowpiercer from 2013, a science fiction movie, is based on a graphic novel. It’s about different economic classes that live on a train where the distinction between the poor and rich is a very clear line. It only takes one person to rally the crowd, and when Curtis gains foothold outside his living quarters, there’s nothing that will stop him. It’s quite serious from start to finish, as many science fiction films are, because usually something is in peril. There’s no falling asleep in this movie.
Western is set in the American West that embodies the spirit, the struggle, and the demise of the new frontier.
Unforgiven from 1992, a western, is one of my favorite Clint Eastwood movies. He plays Bill Munny, a man who wants to be left alone to live out the rest of his life in peace. Yet, life often gives you what you don’t want. It has great acting and the premise of less is more is part of why this movie plays so well on the screen. Known as an efficient director, there is a purpose for everything you see and don’t see in this movie.
Sports has protagonists who play athletics or other games of competition.
Battle of the Sexes from 2017, focusing on the sport of tennis, tackles serious matters with the right amount of humor interspersed throughout. We’ve heard about the tennis match in 1973 between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. Seeing this movie is the closest I’ll get to the whole experience and events leading up to it. The fact I had a better understanding of the hardships women faced in sports is a testament to the movie. Emma Stone’s performance is Oscar worthy, and of course, Steve Carrell did well playing an unlikable character.
Mystery revolves around the solution of a crime.
Se7en from 1995, a mystery, is about the seven deadly sins. It makes you wonder who the hell is responsible for this murder streak. For what it is worth, it’s a little ironic given the bad guy is now being portrayed in Hollywood as a bad guy. It has cost him two roles now, which I’m not too happy about him leaving, but karma comes to mind. Getting back to the movie, it goes into the darkness of what people can be and do if you aren’t paying attention. So pay attention to it all and maybe see how you stack up with the deadly sins.
Romantic Comedy includes development of a romance leading to comic situations.
Midnight in Paris from 2011, a romantic comedy, is a movie I enjoyed because you hardly go wrong with Woody Allen. It involves a couple vacationing in Paris. Gil is a screenwriter who finds his inspiration while being transported back to the 1920s at midnight. It has a dreamy quality to it and worth seeing. You also can’t go wrong with watching the recreating of 1920s Paris.
Courtroom Drama has a system of justice playing a critical role in the film’s narrative.
Primal Fear from 1996, a courtroom drama, is a movie that involves religion and murder. It can’t get any better than this, but wait, there’s a lawyer hiding the shadows ready to take on this case. Okay, it does get better. The need to control the situation, by both the lawyer and defendant, makes it tense. Sometimes you watch movies to be appalled by human action and this is one of them.
Epic is large-scale, set in a cinematic interpretation of the past. Their scope defies and demands, either in the mode in which they are presented or their range across time.
Lawrence of Arabia from 1962, an epic historical drama, is a movie that kept my attention. As with many epic movies, it’s a long one of around 3 hours and 40 minutes. It’s about a British Lieutenant, T.E. Lawrence, following his own path during WWI. He disobeys commands, and rallies warring Arab tribes together for the sake of attacking a Turkish port. It’s worth seeing. It won best picture of the year and six other Oscars.
Produced: Ari Folman, Serge Lalou, Verona Meier, Gerhard Meixner, Yael Nahlieli, and Roman Paul
Directed: Ari Folman
Written: Ari Folman
Cast: Ari Folman, Ori Sivan, Ronny Dayag, Shmuel Frenkel, Zahava Solomon, Ron Ben-Yishai, Dror Harazi, Mikey Leon, and Yehezkel Lazarov
Waltz with Bashir (Vals Im Bashir) is unlike the traditional animation. It is also a documentary with the focus of war. It was released in very limited theaters in 2008. Five to be exact. Therefore, I saw it when it came out on DVD. This documentary is highly engaging. The story seeks to uncover the reasons why the protagonist, Ari Folman, is having nightmares long after 1982 has passed when he served in the IDF. He finds his answers through speaking to those around him during the first Lebanon War in the 1980s, and not necessarily soldiers. Ari’s desire to fill in the blank spots during this time is to give him resolution, and to confront what he might have done during this fragile time.
The first time an animated film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
It won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
There’s rich history concerning the ancient Olympics and equally fascinating information pertaining to the modern Olympics. While I only broke down the list of year, summer or winter, city and country, it’s all quite fascinating. I’m looking forward to February when it all starts.
Time really does fly by. It’s the Winter Olympics soon. I remember the “Flying Tomato” missing standing on the podium in the snowboarding half-pipe event at the Sochi games. Shaun White gets his chance again in PyeongChang. I’m excited to see how it materializes. I hope he gets a chance to redeem himself. I hope great things happen at these games.
The physical best of the best are found in the Olympics. As much as I love watching summer sports, the winter sports edge them out. It might be that there is a harshness to them because of the snow, ice, and cold temperatures. It seems forever ago that the Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding ice skating incidents happened before and during Lillehammer. The media sensationalized their feud, and the world watched with anticipation. Nancy Kerrigan went on to win silver. Tonya did not medal and came in 8th place. The latter was forever banned from the U.S. Figure Skating Association, and stripped of her U.S. Championship win in 1994. If anyone was a tortured physical athlete, it was her. There’s a movie coming out called I, Tonya, if you weren’t born yet and missed it all.
How things have changed too from the ancient Olympics. It’s no longer only for able bodied, free men of Greek origin. It includes participation from more countries than not, and women and men have, in a general sense, equal access to the winter and summer sport competitions. It includes more than running, wrestling, boxing, pankration (primitive form of martial arts combining wrestling and boxing), equestrian (chariot and horse races), pentathlon (running, long jump, discus, javelin, wrestling), and boys’ events (running, wrestling, and boxing).
Olympia was discovered again in 1766 by Richard Chandler and after archaeological work by the Germans, its finding would inspire Pierre de Coubertin, creator of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The first modern Olympics took place in Athens during the summer of 1896. They started with summer only games, and in 1924 included winter games. It was in 1994 that the Olympics were scheduled every two years.
We are soon approaching the XXIII Olympiad, beginning February 9th on Friday and closing February 25th on Sunday. The mascots are Soohorang and Bandabi, motif from the white tiger and Asiatic black bear. The emblem is taken from Hangul, the Korean alphabet, with significance of “where the earth meets the sky.” There are 259 medals, made by designer, Lee Suk-woo. The torch is 700mm in length. Eight new medal events at PyeongChang will take the total of golds up for grabs to 102, more than any previous Olympic Winter Games.
The following 15 disciplines from seven sports will be included in the 2018 Olympics. Let the games begin. I can’t wait.
Outstanding police departments can make you feel safe in your community. I would venture to say they are cities not heavily populated, which are basically small town U.S.A. Corrupt police departments can dampen a whole city’s image. Los Angeles comes to mind, which The Shield is loosely based from, and in particular the Rampart Division. The rest who carry a gun and badge are in between the two. When you talk about the FBI and CIA, there appears to be more gray areas when it comes to procedural affairs. It might be because these institutions are so large compared to police departments. Nevertheless, these are the shows that have stuck with me over the years, and the ones I want to watch, but not finding the time.
This show catapulted Johnny Depp as a heart-throb centerfold for teenyboppers. I was not one of those teenyboppers even though I was ripe for the age. I swear on my own hands, I was not, but, oh, Tommy Hanson and all the characters of 21 Jump Street. It ran from 1987 to 1991. It had a total of five seasons. Its creators are Stephen J. Cannell and Patrick Hasburgh. It even had a spin-off show, Booker, with Richard Grieco that lasted one season. I can hear the theme song, Hot in the City, to Booker now. 21 Jump Street involves an undercover police unit whose focus was on solving crimes committed by primarily young people in high school. I remember the ex-hippie Captain Jenko that was in the first season’s episodes before Captain Fuller came and stayed. The topics ranged from alcoholism to racism to child abuse to promiscuity. It had an overall seriousness with sporadic goofiness to make it realistic, primarily done by Peter DeLuise’s character.
This show has gotten criticism for how they portray certain Middle Eastern people, but it goes to show you can’t please every living person. This heavy laden topic is important, not the purpose of this blog. I’ve watched up to season three. Remember the shows collecting dust on my shelf. This is one of them. I have yet to watch the other three seasons. It premiered in 2011 and the seventh season starts in 2018. Its creators are Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon. Homeland is about a CIA operative, Carrie Mathison, whose personal complications with her bipolar disorder often get in the way of being taken seriously by her co-workers. The end of the third season brought full circle the story of character Nicholas Brody. I look forward to what happens in season four because another personal complication arises for Carrie and her prevailing is what she does best.
I watched Quantico twice so far, both two seasons, because it was that good. I’m a sucker for learning about different characters and what makes them tick, question, scream, and punch their way through life. It premiered in 2015 and the third season starts in 2018. Its creator is Joshua Safran. The show is about a group of FBI recruits who train at Quantico. The mystery unravels to find out who is the terrorist or if one even exists. The main focus is on the characters of Alex Parrish and Ryan Booth. The ending of season two leaves it at a nice spot to leap into a new story line, sort of, but whether it goes there remains to be seen. There are some borderline knocking on 90210 door moments, but not enough to turn me away.
This is another show I watched partly in high school. It ran from 1993 to 2001. It had a total of nine seasons. The X-Files picked up again in 2016, but have not watched them. Its creator is Chris Carter. The episodes involve unsolved cases with questionable and often un-explainable phenomenon. Its main characters include two FBI agents, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, who eventually come to the same conclusion about the government agency they work for and their personal and work related discoveries. If you are fascinated with the extra-terrestrial as I am, then this show is definitely up your alley. Yes, I saw the movie too.
This show I could watch a million times and never get sick of it. Okay, maybe I’m stretching it a little too much, but DAMN is this a good show. Someone recommended this to me before I moved to Los Angeles. Thank you E.H. Then when I moved here, I saw the taping of The Shield by accident on one of my runs (when I actually ran instead of now jogging). In addition to seeing Michael Chiklis smiling in a doorway not very far away, I’ve seen a fair number of cast more than once: Walton Goggins (many times with family), Jay Karnes (airport), Benito Martinez (what a nice guy), and Kenny Johnson (many times with family). I’m still waiting to see CCH Pounder, Catherine Dent, and David Rees Snell. Michael Jace will die in prison for a killing his wife in 2014, which is a shame, because he played his character so well. It ran from 2002 to 2008. It had a total of seven seasons. Its creator is Shawn Ryan. The episodes involve the lives of a dirty cop and those that serve with him on his anti-gang task force. The notable guest stars of Forest Whitaker, Glenn Close, Anthony Anderson, and Laurie Holden, to name a few, made it all the better. The final episode is hands down one of the best I’ve seen.
Forget about Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey. He blows his character, Paul Spector, out of the water in terms of creepiness. Then again, how many teenage girls are turned on by serial killers. Well, maybe some, but not to the level of C.G. This is a slower show, but once you get past that, you are able to see it for what it really is: a masterpiece showcasing a serial killer from Belfast going head to foot with law enforcement. It becomes a cat and mouse game between a methodical killer, Paul Spector, and driven police officer, Stella Gibson. It premiered in 2013, and has three seasons so far. Its creator is Allan Cubitt. I have yet to watch the last season, but it was the last for Dornan, so I’m sure it will blast the pressure to maximum force.
The ever revolving door of actors and actresses for this show, but I’ll still take it. I’m still a little upset I’ll never know how Hotchner really was supposed to finish. This is a long running show. It premiered in 2005 and the thirteenth season is going on now. Its creator is Jeff Davis. Criminal Minds is about FBI agents, part of the Behavorial Analysis Unit (BAU), who are profilers hunting serial killers and those committing heinous crimes. It is led by Emily Prentiss. Her team uses the ever catchy term: unsub or unknown subject. I’ve seen all except the current season. This is the reason Netflix exists. I do a dive bomb when it is released, and don’t leave until I’ve watched them all.
I’ve watched this show about three times, and each time the ticking of the clock bothered whoever was around me. 24 ran from 2001 to 2010. It had a total of eight seasons. Its creators are Robert Cochran and Joel Surnow. The episodes involve Jack Bauer, director of a counter-terrorist unit in Los Angeles, and his team. I prefer to think of him as a bad ass who walks the thinnest of lines between sanctioned protocol and what’s on the other side of it. It’s hard to think so much action could happen in one day, and how the people involved are still functioning by the end. Yet, it does happen so it makes the show all the more impressive. There was a mini-series 24: Live Another Day that aired in 2014. There was a spin-off, 24: Legacy, that aired in 2016. It had one season.
This show has basically replaced The Shield, for me, in terms of caliber. The level of corruption is astounding where it grabbed me from the start. The well-developed characters was a pleasant surprise. The character arc of Mr. Kaplan at the end of season four was one of the best I’ve seen. The Blacklist premiered in 2013 and season five resumes in 2018. Its creator is Jon Bokenkamp. The show involves primarily two characters: Elizabeth Keen and Raymond Reddington. Keen is a newly married FBI profiler. She comes face to face with Reddington, and throughout the show questions his motives and behaviors at every corner. It will be interesting to see how the second half of season five progresses since a major bomb was dropped on Keen.
This show was slow to start, and admit I had to give it another try. I’m glad I did because it is well worth the watching. Stay invested in it because I eventually didn’t want to turn it off, but had to because I needed sleep. The Killing ran from 2011 to 2014. It has four seasons. Its creator is Veena Sud. Its main characters, Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder, work as a team in a police investigation. As they uncover pieces to the story of what happened to Rosie Larsen, things get unhinged on personal and political levels. It is a great whodunnit and whydunnit show.
This show had the ever revolving door of the main actor that would bring a sex appeal factor to the television screen. David Caruso left the set, never to glance back, and actors kept replacing the last. This never detracted from the show because the writing was superb, but I wish actresses were given more credence to their profession. I think of A.D.A Sylvia Costas and Detective Connie McDowell. NYPD Blue is about the professional lives of detectives in their precinct, and how it often bleeds into their private lives. It ran from 1993 to 2005. There were twelve seasons. Its creators are Steven Bochco and David Milch. It is led by Lt. Fancy and later Lt. Rodriquez. The mainstays throughout most of the seasons were Detective Sipowicz, Greg Medavoy, Bobby Simone, and Connie McDowell. NYPD Blue was a groundbreaking show for a reason.
This show surprisingly I had to give another try as well because my eyes weren’t cooperating at the first round. But the second time, I was all in and ready to go. Mindhunter has one season so far, and can’t wait for the next one in unknown. Its creator is Joe Penhall. It involves the formative years of FBI research into the mind of killers by the hands of two agents: Holden Ford and Bill Tench. Both actors are excellent in their roles, but Holt McCallany knocks the ball out of the park. They forgo the old method of looking at crimes and delve deeper into a criminal’s modus operandi. This show is based from actual research and events. I’m willing to watch anything psychologically and/or criminally related. It’s one of the few things that can keep me up at night when I’m bone tired. Enough said.
This mini-series was discovered as I was surfing Netflix. I’m not sure if it is still on there, but it’s worth the watch. It keeps you invested. The Assets is about the ultimate capture of a CIA mole by other CIA officers. This is a cat and mouse game between Aldrich Ames and Sandra Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuille. This is based on actual events where Ames fed classified information to the Soviet Union. It aired in 2014.
There you have it: the shows I’ve seen that stuck with me. I’ve purposely left out other notable shows for a time factor. On that note, let’s move to the ones I have yet to see.
Graceland is a show about a rookie FBI agent trained by a FBI legend in a beachfront residence. Its creator is Jeff Eastin. It had three seasons.
The Wire is a show about the Baltimore inner-city drug scene from the view of the criminals and police department. Its creator is David Simon. It had five seasons.
True Detective is a show about police investigations. It follows different cases in each season. Its creator is Nic Pizzolatto. It has two seasons so far.
Justified is a show about a U.S. Marshal going back to his poor, rural hometown in Kentucky. Its creator is Graham Yost. It had six seasons.
Luther is a show about a genius detective who is dedicated, obsessed, and consumed by his work in the Serious Crime Unit. Its creator is Neil Cross. It has four seasons so far.
Top of the Lake is a show about a detective attempting to solve crimes while keeping herself in check. It has a gap in between the seasons. Its creators are Jane Campion and Gerard Lee. It has two seasons so far.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is a show about forensic evidence team in Las Vegas. It had sixteen seasons. Its creator is Anthony E. Zuiker. (I haven’t watched enough episodes to say I truly know about it.)
Southland is a show about the LAPD. It had five seasons. Its creator is Ann Biderman.
The Americans is a show about Soviet spies in America. It has five seasons so far. Its creator is Joseph Weisberg.
There you have it: the shows where people wear badges and/or affiliated with crime in some way. I could say so much more about this topic, but given the lack of time, I won’t. On that note, happy television watching because there’s a lot out there.