Thursday, January 31, 2013

Right Of The People To Keep And Bear Arms

Tucson Weather Today



On 'January 31, 1950' U.S. President Harry S. Truman publicly announced his decision to support the development of the hydrogen bomb, a weapon theorized to be hundreds of times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan during World War II..

Then, on November 1, 1952, the United States successfully detonated "Mike," the world's first hydrogen bomb, on the Elugelab Atoll in the Pacific Marshall Islands. The 10.4-megaton thermonuclear device  instantly vaporized an entire island and left behind a crater more than a mile wide.

Three years later, on November 22, 1955, the Soviet Union detonated its first hydrogen bomb on the same principle of radiation implosion.

I saw this image on Facebook --
Liked it. Copied it. Pasted it here.

Sometimes I grow so confused by the rhetoric of the American Ruling Class, the Industrialists and Politicians with their subservient lackeys, they who in the background manipulate the pretty-faced script reading puppets of the Mass Media, that I feel like throwing in the towel and just accepting things as they are. After all, I am only one man, and an old man at that... and I will soon be out of the picture. A vanished voice plucked from the roar of an ever-growing population.

But at other times I feel a feeble spark of defiance and begin to tap, tap, tap the patiently waiting letters, numbers, and symbols of my keyboard.

There is an old tried and true principle known to the once ubiquitous door to door salesmen that pestered harried housewives during the mid-twentieth century know as the foot-in-the-door ploy. And I wonder if the newest generation of supposedly informed citizens (voters) of the United States are familiar with that principle: getting a foot in the door is the first step to making a sale. Canny salesmen knew that. So the most successful sales persons did just that; they slipped their foot in the doorway as soon as the customer heard them knock and innocently opened the door.

Politicians and elected officials know and use that principle. You can bet on that -- take it to the bank, as it were.

Dedicated liberals such as President Obama and the leaders of the Democratic Party know that in a dispute with conservative congress-persons (the Republican Party) they, the liberals, must ask for the moon and seemingly settle for a crumb of cheese. Why? Because with the passage of time that crumb (foot in the door) will (by accretion) grow until it is as massive as the moon which was originally sought.


accretion [un-KREE-shun]
a. Growth or increase in size by gradual external addition, fusion, or inclusion.
b. Something contributing to such growth or increase.
2. Biology The growing together or adherence of parts that are normally separate.
3. Geology
a. Slow addition to land by deposition of water-borne sediment.
b. An increase of land along the shores of a body of water.
4. Astronomy An increase in the mass of a celestial object by the collection of surrounding interstellar gases and objects by gravity.

Simply put, accretion is the growth of a massive object by attracting more bits of smaller matter.

Passing a law that restricts gun ownership by banning certain types of guns is, on the surface, apparently a common sense act. But wait! Perhaps this is not common sense at all. Perhaps it is one of those crumbs of cheese.

History shows that additional laws will follow. It is inevitable. Eventually private citizens, the people of the United States, will no longer be allowed to own a gun of any kind. Only the enforcers, the members of the police and the military will be allowed to carry and use a firearm. And by then, the president may no longer be as meek and mild as Barach Obama. The future president will be (by accretion of power) more on the order of Orwell's Big Brother. Or worse.

Once, a rag-tag army of freedom-loving militia men rebelled and followed committed leaders in a war against King George of England. Those leaders knew what it would take to win such a war. And that is the reason that the following phrase appears in the U.S. Constitution:

The Right Of The People To Keep And Bear Arms Shall Not Be Infringed,



Jackie Robinson
Born Jan 31, 1919
Died Oct 24, 1972

Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson was an American baseball player who became the first black Major League Baseball player of the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. As the first black man to play in the major leagues since the 1880s, he was instrumental in bringing an end to racial segregation in professional baseball,

In addition to his cultural impact, Robinson had an exceptional baseball career. Over ten seasons, he played in six World Series and contributed to the Dodgers' 1955 World Championship. He was selected for six consecutive All-Star Games from 1949 to 1954, was the recipient of the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, and won the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949—the first black player so honored. Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

Born Jan 31, 1921
Age:  91 years old

Carol Elaine Channing is an American singer, actress, and comedienne. She is the recipient of three Tony Awards (including one for lifetime achievement), a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination. Channing is best remembered for originating, on Broadway, the musical-comedy roles of bombshell Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and matchmaking widow Dolly Gallagher Levi in Hello, Dolly!

Channing also appeared in a number of movies, The First Traveling Sales Lady (1956) with Ginger Rogers, the cult film Skidoo and Thoroughly Modern Millie, opposite Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore. For Millie she received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and was awarded a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture.

Born Jan. 31, 1937
Died Jan. 19, 2008

Suzanne Pleshette was an American actress and voice actress. After beginning her career in the theater, she began appearing in films in the early 1960s, such as Rome Adventure (1962) and Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963). She later appeared in various television productions, often in guest roles, and played Emily Hartley on The Bob Newhart Show from 1972 until 1978, receiving several Emmy Award nominations for her work. She continued acting until 2004, four years before her death.

Born Jan 31, 1970
Age:  42 years old

Amelia Fiona J. "Minnie" Driver is a British actress and singer-songwriter. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the film Good Will Hunting, and an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe for her work in the television series The Riches.


Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.
(Not M. Twain)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

There Is No Easy Way To The Stars From The Earth

Tucson Weather Today


On my daily two-mile fitness walk yesterday morning I took some pictures of Monday night's snow accumulation on the higher Catalina mountains located just a few miles North of where I live. The first is with my camera's Zoom set at Normal and the second one is set at the Full 4X Optical Zoom.

Zoom setting Normal

Setting Full 4X Optical Zoom

To see those two pictures full size, click the link is below:


Earth From Space

Detailed satellite images reveal the web of connections that sustain life on Earth. Airing February 13, 2013 at 9 pm on PBS.

"Earth From Space" is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth. Viewers witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine "waterfall" off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the sun's heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane. From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, the show reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet.

Preview of video



On this day in 1933, President Paul von Hindenburg named Adolf Hitler, leader or fuhrer of the National Socialist German Workers Party (or Nazi Party), as chancellor of Germany.

Hitler's emergence as chancellor on January 30, 1933, marked a crucial turning point for Germany and, ultimately, for the world. His plan, embraced by much of the German population, was to do away with politics and make Germany a powerful, unified one-party state. He began immediately, ordering a rapid expansion of the state police, the Gestapo, and putting Hermann Goering in charge of a new security force, composed entirely of Nazis and dedicated to stamping out whatever opposition to his party might arise. From that moment on, Nazi Germany was off and running, and there was little Hindenburg or von Papen—or anyone—could do to stop it.



Geosynchronous [jee-oh-SIN-kruhn-uhs]
of or having an orbit with a fixed period of 24 hours.

Geosynchronous satellites have the advantage of remaining permanently in the same area of the sky, as viewed from a particular location on Earth, and so permanently within view of a given ground station.

Geostationary satellites have the special property of remaining permanently fixed in exactly the same position in the sky, meaning that ground-based antennas do not need to track them but can remain fixed in one direction. Such satellites are often used for communication purposes.



Gene Hackman
Born Jan 30, 1930
Age:  82 years old

Eugene Allen "Gene" Hackman is a retired American actor and novelist.

Nominated for five Academy Awards, winning two, Hackman has also won three Golden Globes and two BAFTAs in a career that spanned five decades. He first came to fame in 1967 with his performance as Buck Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde. His major subsequent films include The French Connection (1971), in which he played Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle; The Poseidon Adventure (1972); The Conversation (1974); Superman (1978), in which he played arch-villain Lex Luthor; Hoosiers (1986); Mississippi Burning (1987); Unforgiven (1992); The Firm (1993); Crimson Tide (1995); Get Shorty (1995); The Birdcage (1996); Enemy of the State (1998); and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001).

Born Jan. 30, 1922
Died May 24, 2008

Thomas Richard "Dick" Martin was an American comedian and director, best known for his role as the co-host of the sketch comedy program Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In from 1968 to 1973.

Born Jan 30, 1882
Died Apr 12, 1945

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States (1933–1945) and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic depression and total war. A dominant leader of the Democratic Party and the only American president elected to more than two terms, he built a New Deal Coalition that realigned American politics after 1932, as his domestic policies defined American liberalism for the middle third of the 20th century.

Born Jan. 30, 1941
Age:   71 years old

Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney is an American politician and businessman who was the 46th Vice President of the United States from 2001 to 2009, under President George W. Bush.

"Non est ad astra mollis e terris via."
(see Title at top for translation)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Tucson Weather Today


After reading a quotation by Winston Churchill: "If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law", I began to wonder about laws, especially about how many laws there are in the United States. So, as has become my habit, I did a Google search.

I found, at answers dot com  . . .
There are levels of government city laws, county laws, State laws, and finally federal laws. Different cities, counties, and States may have similar- but different- laws, and they all fall under federal law.

Actually, the proper question would be how many federal crimes are there? The US Justice Department is your best source to keep tract of this total. The fact there are so many criminal laws, the odds of no one breaking one in a lifetime are so astronomical, it would make DNA odds look like simple math.

Since the start of 2000, Congress has created at least 452 new crimes. So the total number of Federal crimes as of the end of 2007 exceeds 4,450. Ninety-one of the 452 were contained in new laws that created 279 new crimes, and the remaining were contained in amendments to existing laws.The total of 452 new crimes breaks down by year as follows: 65 for 2000; 28 for 2001; 82 for 2002; 51 for 2003; 48 for 2004; 13 for 2005; 145 for 2006; 20 for 2007. The Appendix to this report lists all the federal statutes containing new crimes.

In the opinion of one seemingly intelligent writer: "America has too many laws. January 1st 2010 saw 40,627 'new' laws on the books in the USA. And the laws we do have are tedious, overly complex and sometimes not only impossible to understand, but impossible to comply with. That brings me to the question: If jurors can 'mot' understand a law well enough to determine if someone broke it, just how do lawmakers expect citizens to understand it enough to obey it?"

And in the opinion of another writer . . .

“In the end more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free.”
--Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

One of the earliest maxims that comes to mind regarding laws is "Laws Are Made To Be Broken." Is that true? Some people believe so. Breaking some laws is sometimes called civil disobedience. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr writes to express the importance of civil disobedience, individualism, and justice vs. injustice. Dr. King Jr. states in the Letter from the Birmingham Jail that "a law is just on its face and unjust in its application."

Have you ever read any of Dr. King's writings? Probably not. I did, but it was a long time ago and I had forgotten much of it. Yesterday I re-read a very special one: The link is below:

Letter from a Birmingham Jail



 On January 29, 1845 Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven" was published in the New York Evening Mirror.

"The Raven" is a  poem by American writer
Edgar Allan Poe.

First published in January 1845, the poem is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking raven's mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man's slow fall into madness. The lover, often identified as being a student, is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further instigate his distress with its constant repetition of the word "Nevermore".

Read The Poem Here



obeisance  [oh-BEE-suhns]
-  Deferential respect, as in: "they paid obeisance to the prince".
-  A gesture expressing deferential respect, such as a bow or curtsy.
-  Demonstration of an obedient attitude, especially by bowing deeply.
reverence - homage - respect



Sara Gilbert
Born Jan 29, 1975
Age:  37 years old

Sara Gilbert (born Sara Rebecca Abeles) is an American actress, best known for her role as Darlene Conner on the ABC sitcom Roseanne from 1988 to 1997, as co-host and creator of the daytime talk show The Talk and for her recurring role as Leslie Winkle on CBS's The Big Bang Theory.

Born Jan. 29, 1880
Died Dec 25, 1946

William Claude Dukenfield, better known as W. C. Fields, was an American comedian, actor, juggler and writer. Fields was known for his comic persona as a misanthropic and hard-drinking egotist who remained a sympathetic character despite his snarling contempt for dogs, children and women.

Born Jan 29, 1945
Age:  67 years old

Thomas William "Tom" Selleck is an American actor and film producer. He is best known for his starring role as the private investigator Thomas Magnum in the television series Magnum, P.I. (1980 to 1988), based in Hawaii. He also plays Police Chief Jesse Stone in a series of made-for-TV movies based on Robert B. Parker novels. Since 2010, he has appeared as NYPD Police Commissioner Frank Reagan in the drama Blue Bloods on CBS-TV.

Born Jan 29, 1962
Age:  50 years old

Nicholas Turturro, Jr. is an American film, television and prolific on-stage character actor, perhaps best known for his role as James Martinez, on NYPD Blue from 1993 to 2000.


Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
--George Orwell

Monday, January 28, 2013

Is It art Or ART?

Tucson Weather Today


While attending Elementary School In the 1940s my art teacher in my art class taught that art was the act of drawing pictures on a sheet of paper with a pencil, an ink filled pen, a stick of charcoal, or a loaded paint brush. And at times, finger paint.

Then I got into High School and learned that this was still a good description of what art is: The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture.

Some synonyms for art are: craft - skill - artifice - science - workmanship - knack

But that is art, not ART.

While art can connote a sense of trained ability or mastery of a medium, I'm told that ART is an act of expressing feelings, thoughts, and observations.


Cave painting of a horse from the Lascaux caves,
circa 16,000 BP

Choreography, according to some, is an art. To others, it is an Art. Others call it a craft.

Some laud Ulysses, the novel by the Irish author James Joyce; as being a work of ART.

Others brand it as trash.

Go figure.




-  The art of creating and arranging dances or ballets.
-  A work created by this art.
-  Something, such as a series of planned situations, likened to dance arrangements.

Choreography is the art of designing sequences of movements in which motion, form, or both are specified. Choreography may also refer to the design itself. The word choreography literally means "dance-writing" from the Greek. A choreographer is one who creates choreographies by practicing the art of choreography.

The word "choreography" first appeared in the American English dictionary in the 1950s and "choreographer" was first used as a credit for George Balanchine in the Broadway show On Your Toes in 1936. Prior to this, stage and movie credits used phrases such as "ensembles staged by" "dances staged by" or simply "dances by" to denote the choreographer.


Historical Clip

The space shuttle Challenger exploded just after liftoff on this day in 1986, killing the seven astronauts aboard.

 The Challenger shuttle crew, of seven astronauts died tragically in the explosion of their spacecraft during the launch of STS-51-L from the Kennedy Space Center about 11:40 a.m., EST, on January 28, 1986. The explosion occurred 73 seconds into the flight as a result of a leak in one of two Solid Rocket Boosters that ignited the main liquid fuel tank. The crew members of the Challenger represented a cross-section of the American population in terms of race, gender, geography, background, and religion. The explosion became one of the most significant events of the 1980s, as billions around the world saw the accident on television.

The spacecraft commander was Francis R. (Dick) Scobee. The pilot was Michael J. Smith. Judith A. Resnik was one of three mission specialists. Ronald E. McNair was the second of three mission specialists aboard. Ellison S. Onizuka, was the last of the three mission specialists. The last two members of the Challenger crew were not officially Federal government employees. Gregory B. Jarvis, a payload specialist, worked for the Hughes Aircraft Corp.'s Space and Communications Group in Los Angeles, California, and had been made available for the Challenger flight by his company. The last member of the crew was Sharon Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher to fly in space.

President Ronald Reagan postponed the State of the Union address that was scheduled for that evening and instead addressed the nation about the tragedy. He appointed a commission to investigate the accident and the shuttle program was put on hiatus.

Details HERE

Personal note: The spacecraft commander, Dick Scobee, was born on my birthday, May 19, 1939.



Born Jan 28, 1936
Age:  76 years old

Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo, better known as Alan Alda, is an American actor, director, screenwriter, and author. A six-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner, he is best known for his roles as Hawkeye Pierce in the TV series M*A*S*H and Arnold Vinick in The West Wing. He is currently a Visiting Professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook School of Journalism and a member of the advisory board of The Center for Communicating Science.

Born Jan 28, 1950
Age:  62 years old

Barbi Benton is a Jewish American model, actress and singer. She was featured on the cover of Playboy several times (initially credited as Barbi Klein) and in nude photo layouts in the March 1970, December 1973, and January 1975 issues.

A Work Of art ART
(Not the photograph)

Benton is known for her years as a regular on the country music series Hee Haw, appearing in comic skits with other cast members. She left the program after four seasons to concentrate on a more Hollywood-oriented career. She also starred in the short-lived ABC-TV comedy series Sugar Time! about an aspiring female rock group in 1977.

 Born Jan. 28, 1912
Died Aug 11, 1956

Paul Jackson Pollock, known as Jackson Pollock, was an influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. He was well known for his uniquely defined style of drip painting.

Born Jan 28, 1873
Died  Aug 3, 1954

Colette was the surname of the French novelist and performer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. She is best known for her novel Gigi, upon which Lerner and Loewe based the stage and film musical comedies of the same title.

A controversial figure throughout her life, Colette flaunted her lesbian affairs.

Truman Capote wrote a short story about her called "The White Rose".


An artist is always alone if he is an artist.
No, what the artist needs is loneliness.

--Henry Miller

Sunday, January 27, 2013

More From Michelle Hakala

Drivel: Floyd
By Michelle Hakala

One of my friends has a little man named Floyd in her head. She says
he's the one responsible for looking through all her storage drawers
to find that little bit of information she can't remember at the
moment. He's the one who finds it and presents it to her at odd
times, which is why she'll sometimes answer a question hours after
it was asked. That's her Floyd.

My Floyd was my uncle. He died on Wednesday. It wasn't unexpected;
he'd had cancer and when we went on our truck trek last September, it was there that we went -- to see him again while he was still feeling good and could enjoy the visit. We took his sister -- my mother -- along, and while we were there, another sister arrived and at least
one night was spent in "Remember When..." conversation.

I could see him then in an odd juxtaposition. Physically, he was
there, in his sixties or seventies (he'd been married for 50+ years),
razzing his two sisters about the things that happened way back when.
In my mind, I could see him, too, as a kid of six or ten or fifteen,
getting his sisters in trouble and watching the results or standing up
for them when the local bully showed up. I could see him, too, as an
adult, comforting them when the only other sibling, a brother, died.

Floyd was a talker. In the time we were there, we heard more stories
from him than I think I've ever heard from my mom. He brought those
times to life for us with his animated re-telling. The hard-earned
money spent on a Saturday movie. The contest to catch the biggest
fish. The love he bore for his wife.

Even then, facing death, he was more alive than many people I know.
Talking about trips they would take, if they could, and the things
that he needed to do before he died. Mostly, they were things he
wanted to do so his wife wouldn't have to do them, after. I wonder if
he got them done.

The last update I had from him said he still wasn't in pain, though
that was a month or more ago. I hope it was still like that this week.

I'm glad we took that trip and spent that time there. I'm glad, too,
that his wife has the support of their family in that area through
this time.

We'll miss you, Floyd. Thanks for being with us, and say "hi" to Bert for us.

Copyright 2013 Michelle Hakala


Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Poem About Creative Writing



 . . . * rebirth * . . .

at seven in the morning
bent over my keyboard
creating a masterpiece

i hear mr coffee beep
an electronic warning

and i bellow
god damn it
stumble over

the touch of one finger
renews sustaining warmth
vacuous life for another hour

Copyright 2013 Gene Chambers

A synonym for
is empty.
So is mindless.


A group of Republican lawmakers want to require Arizona students to recite a loyalty oath to the U.S. and its Constitution before they can graduate high school. They are sponsoring House Bill 2467 in the Legislature. If passed, it would make the loyalty oath a prerequisite for graduation from any public high school in Arizona starting with the 2013-14 school year.

Students would be required to say:

"I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose or evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; so help me God."


". . . so help me God?"  Right!


Historical Clip

Today Is Australia Day

On January 26, 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip guides a fleet of 11 British ships carrying convicts to the colony of New South Wales, effectively founding Australia. After overcoming a period of hardship, the fledgling colony began to celebrate the anniversary of this date with great fanfare.

Finally, in 1818, January 26 became an official holiday, marking the 30th anniversary of British settlement in Australia. And, as Australia became a sovereign nation, it became the national holiday known as Australia Day.

Today, Australia Day serves both as a day of celebration for the founding of the white British settlement, and as a day of mourning for the Aborigines who were slowly dispossessed of their land as white colonization spread across the continent.



1. Love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline.
2. A set of ideas or beliefs relating to a particular field or activity; an underlying theory.
3. A system of thought based on or involving such inquiry.
4. The critical analysis of fundamental assumptions or beliefs.
5. The disciplines presented in university curriculums of science and the liberal arts.
6. The discipline comprising logic, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and epistemology.
7. A set of ideas or beliefs relating to a particular field or activity; an underlying theory.
8. A system of values by which one lives.

A Philosophy is a conclusion formulated in the absence of a definite answer, based on assumptions, values, and experience. Conclusions are rational, but their basis is not, due to a lack of information. Conservatism and Liberalism are examples of philosophy -- neither can be objectively judged to be correct.
--From The Urban Dictionary



Paul Newman
Born Jan. 26, 1925
Died  Sep 26, 2008

Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, professional racing driver, auto racing team owner and auto racing enthusiast. He won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for best actor for his performance in the 1986 Martin Scorsese film The Color of Money and eight other nominations, three Golden Globe Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award, an Emmy award, and many honorary awards. He also won several national championships as a driver in Sports Car Club of America road racing, and his race teams won several championships in open wheel IndyCar racing.

His first movie for Hollywood was The Silver Chalice (1954). In 1956, Newman garnered much attention and acclaim with Somebody Up There Likes Me as boxer Rocky Graziano. By 1958, he was one of the hottest new stars in Hollywood. Later that year, he starred in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), opposite Elizabeth Taylor. The film was a box office smash and Newman garnered his first Academy Award nomination.

Newman was one of the few actors who successfully made the transition from 1950s cinema to that of the 1960s and 1970s. His rebellious persona translated well to a subsequent generation. Newman starred in Exodus (1960), The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963), Harper (1966), Hombre (1967), Cool Hand Luke (1967), The Towering Inferno (1974), Slap Shot (1977), and The Verdict (1982). He teamed with fellow actor Robert Redford and director George Roy Hill for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973).

He appeared with his wife, Joanne Woodward, in the feature films The Long, Hot Summer (1958), Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!, (1958), From the Terrace (1960), Paris Blues (1961), A New Kind of Love (1963), Winning (1969), WUSA (1970), The Drowning Pool (1975), Harry & Son (1984), and Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990). They both also starred in the HBO miniseries Empire Falls, but did not have any scenes together.

Newman was a co-founder of Newman's Own, a food company from which Newman donated all post-tax profits and royalties to charity. As of June 2012, these donations exceeded $330 million.

Born Jan. 26, 1880
Died  Apr. 5, 1964

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army who was Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the Philippines Campaign, which made him and his father Arthur MacArthur, Jr., the first father and son to be awarded the medal. He was one of only five men ever to rise to the rank of General of the Army in the U.S. Army, and the only man ever to become a field marshal in the Philippine Army.

Born Jan. 26, 1946
Died  Feb 20, 1999

Eugene Kal "Gene" Siskel was an American film critic and journalist for the Chicago Tribune. Along with colleague Roger Ebert, he hosted the popular review show Siskel & Ebert At the Movies from 1986 until his death.

Born Jan 26, 1958
Age:   54 years old

Ellen Lee DeGeneres is an American stand-up comedian, television host and actress. She hosts the syndicated talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She also starred in two television sitcoms, Ellen from 1994 to 1998 and The Ellen Show from 2001 to 2002. During the fourth season of Ellen in 1997, DeGeneres came out publicly as a lesbian in an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show.


There is creative reading as well as creative writing.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, January 25, 2013

Another Flash Fiction Story

Tucson Weather Today


Credible Career Choice
By Gene Chambers

"The marvelous thing is that it's painless," he said. "That's how you know when it starts."

"That's real nice, Baby," she said, as she unbuttoned and removed her blouse, then casually lit a cigarette.

He frowned as blue smoke drifted toward the motel room's ceiling. "Call me Jack. Like I told you back in the bar. Remember?"

"Sure, Jack," she said.

"The first time it hurt like hell," he said. "The second not so much. Now it's become almost a routine procedure."

Lottie coughed; said nothing. Why do they think they have to talk? Why can't they just do it, and keep their traps shut? Who needs a freakin' autobiography?

"Painless for me," Jack said, "Not so painless for them."   The pitch of his voice rose, "I'm lying when I tell them they won't feel a thing!"

"That's nice, Sweetie," Lottie repeated. Why was he getting so agitated?

"All my life I've been different, you know? Grow up, find a job, get married, raise a family, kiss everybody's ass. Not me. You go left; I go right. You say black; I say white. Every herd of cattle has its bull. I'm the big bull in this herd."

Lottie snubbed out her cigarette. Christ. Talk, talk, talk.

"Medical school?" he scoffed. "A joke. Treating patients? Not me. Cutting, yes. Healing, no. There is something special about a scalpel; you know? Shiny clean, polished, finely keen. One can do amazing things with a scalpel."

Scalpel? Lottie glanced at his face. What'd he say? Cutting? Why was he grinning like that? She looked across the room to where his little black bag lay on the floor beside the door. "You ain't no doctor, then? Huh?"

"No." He smiled. "I am definitely not a doctor."

That's not a friendly smile, Lottie thought. It's a secret smile. "So," she said, "what are you then?"

He bent down and opened his bag.

"What the freak ya' doin'," she said.

He reached inside and Lottie heard metallic clanking sounds. Finally, his hand emerged, carrying a business card, which he handed to her. She thought that smile of his was the scariest thing she had ever seen. She read the card:

Johnson's Funeral Salon
Expert Cosmetic Surgery
For The Dearly Departed

Good Lord. A freakin' undertaker. Well, I suppose I can handle that, she thought. Until a few seconds later when she suddenly realized why a guy would carry a bagful of surgical instruments along with him for a night on the town.

Copyright 2008 Gene Chambers



-  Able to be believed; convincing.
-  Capable of persuading people that something will happen or be successful.
believable - trustworthy - plausible - reliable



Dean Jones

 Born Jan 25, 1931
Age:  81 years old

Dean Carroll Jones is an American actor. Jones is best known for his light-hearted leading roles in several Walt Disney movies between 1965 and 1977, most notably The Love Bug.

Jones started his film career by signing a contract at MGM, beginning with a small role as a soldier in Somebody Up There Likes Me and he later played disc jockey Teddy Talbot in the 1957 Elvis Presley smash hit, Jailhouse Rock. He portrayed a soldier in both Imitation General (1957) with Glenn Ford and Never So Few (1959) with Frank Sinatra.

Born Jan. 25, 1938
Died Jan. 20, 2012

Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins) was an American singer. Her style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, gospel and jazz. Starting her career in 1954, she gained fame with hits such as "Roll With Me, Henry", "At Last", "Tell Mama", "Something's Got a Hold on Me", and "I'd Rather Go Blind" for which she wrote the lyrics. She faced a number of personal problems, including drug addiction, before making a musical resurgence in the late 1980s with the album The Seven Year Itch.

Born Jan 25, 1958
Age:  54 years old

Dinah Beth Manoff is an American stage, film and television actress and television director best known for her roles as Elaine Lefkowitz on Soap, Marty Maraschino in the film Grease, Libby Tucker in both the stage and film adaptations of I Ought to Be in Pictures, for which she won a Tony award, and Carol Weston on Empty Nest. Manoff has also starred in numerous television movies and guest starred on various television programs in this timespan. Her film career cooled down during the 1990s but has come back in the 2000s (decade) with movies such as The Amati Girls and Bart Got a Room and a co-starring role on State of Grace.

Manoff is daughter to actress Lee Grant and screenwriter Arnold Manoff.

Born Jan. 25, 1933
Died  Aug. 1, 2009

Maria Corazon Sumulong "Cory" Cojuangco-Aquino was a Filipino politician who served as the 11th President of the Philippines, the first woman to hold that office, and the first female president in Asia. She led the 1986 People Power Revolution, which toppled Ferdinand Marcos and restored democracy in the Philippines. She was named "Woman of the Year" in 1986 by Time magazine.


I don't have credibility, I'm a comedian.
--Dennis Miller

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Tucson Weather Today



-  Designed for or suitable to both sexes: unisex clothing; unisex hairstyles.
-   Not distinguished or distinguishable on the basis of sex; androgynous in appearance.
-  Elimination or absence of sexual distinctions.

Unisex refers to things that are suitable for either gender, but can also be another term for gender-blindness.

The term was coined in the 1960s and was used fairly informally. Though the combining form uni- is from the Latin unus meaning one, the term seems to have been influenced by words such as united and universal where the uni- prefix takes on the sense of shared. In this sense, it can be seen as meaning shared by both sexes.

Hair stylists and beauty salons that serve both men and women are often referred to as unisex. This is also typical of other services that traditionally separated the sexes, such as clothing shops.

According to Wikipedia: A unisex public toilet, also known as a unisex toilet, unisex bathroom, family toilet, or gender-neutral bathroom, is a public restroom or toilet that is available for use by either the male or female gender, including family restrooms for family or elderly use. Unisex toilets can be used by all persons, regardless of gender identity. Unisex toilets may be built by developers to save costs; instead of building two separate facilities, they only need to build one or one type, which may save costs as well as reduce space. Where it is impractical to have separate facilities, such as in airliners, trains, or buses, unisex toilets are used.

My first formal introduction to a unisex toilet came when I was forty years old, circa 1980, when I was a dormitory resident student at Valparaiso Technical Institute located at Valparaiso, Indiana. One night as I was standing in the (Men's?)) restroom before one of the urinals, a tipsy teenage female from a wild party in a room down the hall came bustling in and entered one of the stalls, giving me no more than a passing glance. Before the night was over, this event recurred twice again.

In the thirty-plus years since that time, I have had occasion to us the facilities at other unisex public restrooms.

If this becomes the norm, I believe that I will have no qualms about it.


I received some emailed comments regarding Portents, the Flash Fiction story I posted in yesterday's blog entry. It seems that most of these responders liked the story, and even the few negative comments, those pointing out the story's 1950s era atmosphere (Sad Sack, etc.) were helpful; they are things for me to keep in mind for possible future revisions.

Feedback, to a writer, even a writer of Flash Fiction, almost always proves to be extremely valuable. And I sincerely thank those of you who offered their critiques and opinions.

A few years back I tried my hand at writing limericks. Below is one of those attempts:

Whenever a Brit says, "whinge",
I shudder, I shake and I cringe.
In the States, we say, "whine",
Which to me is perfectly fine --
A Yank will never say, "whinge".

Copyright 2008 Gene Chambers



Ernest Borgnine
Born Jan. 24, 1917
Died: July 8, 2012

Ernest Borgnine was an American film and television actor whose career spanned more than six decades. He was an unconventional lead in many films of the 1950s, winning an Oscar in 1955 for Marty. On television, he played Quinton McHale in the 1962–1966 series McHale's Navy and co-starred in the mid-1980s action series Airwolf, in addition to a wide variety of other roles. Borgnine earned an Emmy Award nomination at age 92 for his work on the series ER.

In 1951, Borgnine received his big break in From Here to Eternity (1953), playing the sadistic Sergeant "Fatso" Judson, who beats a stockade prisoner in his charge, Angelo Maggio (played by Frank Sinatra). Borgnine built a reputation as a dependable character actor and played villains in early films, including movies like Johnny Guitar, Vera Cruz and Bad Day at Black Rock.

Borgnine's film career flourished through the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, including roles in The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), The Dirty Dozen (1967), Ice Station Zebra (1968), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Emperor of the North (1973), Convoy (1978), The Black Hole (1979) and Escape from New York (1981).

He was also known for being the original voice of Mermaid Man on SpongeBob SquarePants from 1999 to 2012.

Born Jan. 24, 1943
Died: Aug. 9, 1969

Sharon Marie Tate was an American actress. During the 1960s she played small television roles before appearing in several films. After receiving positive reviews for her comedic performances, she was hailed as one of Hollywood's promising newcomers and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her performance in Valley of the Dolls (1967). She also appeared regularly in fashion magazines as a model and cover girl.

Married to film director Roman Polanski in 1968, Tate was eight-and-a-half months pregnant when she was murdered in her home, along with four others, by followers of Charles Manson on August 9, 1969.

Born Jan. 24, 1949
Died: Mar. 5, 1982

John Adam Belushi was an American comedian, actor, and musician. He is best known as one of the original cast members of the hit NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live and as the co-star and co-creator of the hugely successful motion picture The Blues Brothers. He was the older brother of James "Jim" Belushi. He was known for his brash, energetic style and raunchy humor. During his career he had a close personal and artistic partnership with fellow SNL comedian and author Dan Aykroyd.

Belushi died on March 5, 1982 in Hollywood, California after overdosing on a mixture of cocaine and heroin at the age of 33.

Born Jan 24, 1941
Age:  71 years old

Neil Leslie Diamond is an American singer-songwriter with a career that began in the 1960s. As of 2001, Diamond had sold over 115 million records worldwide including 48 million in the United States alone. He is considered to be the third most successful adult contemporary artist ever on the Billboard chart behind Barbra Streisand and Elton John.

Diamond was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. Additionally, he received the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 and in 2011 was an honoree at the Kennedy Center Honors. He has had eight number one hit singles: "Cracklin Rosie", "Song Sung Blue", "Desiree", "You Don't Bring Me Flowers", "Love on the Rocks", "America", "Yesterday's Songs", and "Heartlight".


If modesty disappeared, so would exhibitionism.
--Mason Cooley

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Why Do I Blog?

The main reason I continue to publish this daily blog is to force myself to write every day, even on those days when I would rather be doing something other than write.

Harlan Ellison once said, "People on the outside think there's something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn't like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that's all there is to it."

Anther reason for blogging is to challenge myself to keep on keepin' on, and to prove to myself that advancing age is not (or perhaps is) affecting my ability to think, and then to explain those thoughts by way of the written word.

Even though I am aware that the blog has few readers, that fact is of little import. I read it, each and every day, and I judge what is presented both subjectively and objectively.

Subjectively, I find that most of what I write is brilliant while I am writing it and then is mysteriously transformed overnight into disgusting crap.

Objectively, it's even worse than that.

At times I think that I should dig up some of my old unpublished stories that are rotting away in the depths of digital limbo, rewrite them, polish them until they gleam, and then post them to the blog. But I just never get around to doing so. And that might for the best. Or maybe not.

Why not give Flash Fiction a try?


By Gene Chambers

Richie," his mother asked, "why is Carol being such a stranger lately?"

Richie said nothing as he pushed some peas away from his mashed potatoes and trailed his fork through a congealing puddle of gravy.

His little sister said, "Carol dumped him."

"Oh no," Thelma said. "When, Richie? Why?"

Richie remained silent; stared down at the untasted food on his plate.

Thelma Richards addressed her daughter, "Why did she do that, Lily?"

Lily, munching a mouthful of fried chicken, said, "Carol's dating a Junior now, a big, mean football player; got no time for itty-bitty Freshmen like Richie."

Richie pushed his plate away and opened his battered notebook.

He turned to a page of doodles and scrawled phrases.

Richie vigorously erased the scribbled "wimp, nerd, wussie..." and drew in its place a bold, black swastika.

Thelma said, "Lily, don't talk with your mouth full."

"You asked me," Lily sputtered.

"Brat," Richie whispered.

"Zit-Face," Lily screeched.

Richie glared at her, bared his teeth,and growled.

"You kids stop," Thelma said.

Richie erased Sad Sack; drew a Skull and Crossbones.

"Mother," Lily said, "can we get a puppy?"

Richie drew a cartoon dog, thorn-crowned and crucified. He rapidly sketched hulking Roman soldiers clubbing the dog's corpse.

"We don't have much luck with pets, Lily," said Thelma. "Remember Dusty, and Stormy, and poor little Cootie?"

Richie smirked at Lily, his eyes squinted, nose wrinkled, and teeth still bared. He resumed creating graffiti.

Lily sniffed and said, "If Daddy was here..."

"Now Lily," Thelma said, "Don't start that again. Daddy's gone, and we're better off for that.

Richie ripped out the sheet, crumpled it, and threw it at the waste can.


He stood up, retrieved the errant missile, dropped it into the can, and tromped it down five times.

Then he turned and stomped out of the room.

Copyright 2013 Gene Chambers



Such as to provoke laughter.
ludicrous - ridiculous - laughable - comical - funny


Historical Clip

Elizabeth Blackwell

On January 23, 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell was granted a medical degree from Geneva College in New York, becoming the first female to be officially recognized as a physician in U.S. history.



Gail O'grady
Born Jan. 23, 1963
Age:  49 years old

Gail Ann O'Grady is an American television actress. She is best known for her roles as Donna Abandando on NYPD Blue and as Helen Pryor on American Dreams. She was a series regular on the The CW Comedy Drama series Hellcats, playing the mother of the Marti Perkins, called Wanda Perkins, before Hellcats was subsequently cancelled in May 2011.

Born Jan 23, 1919
Died Jan 13, 1962

Ernie Kovacs was an American comedian, actor, and writer, appearing on such iconic and diverse shows as Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, Saturday Night Live, The Uncle Floyd Show, Captain Kangaroo, Sesame Street, and The Electric Company,

Some of his most well-known films were: Operation Mad Ball, Wake Me When It's Over, and Our Man in Havana. He garnered critical acclaim for roles such as the perennially inebriated writer in Bell, Book and Candle and as the cartoonishly evil head of a railroad company in It Happened to Jane, where he had his head shaved and his remaining hair dyed grey for the role.

In 1960, he played the off-center base commander Charlie Stark in the comedy Wake Me When It's Over. His own personal favorite was said to have been the offbeat Five Golden Hours (1961), in which he portrayed a larcenous professional mourner who meets his match in a professional widow played by Cyd Charisse. Kovacs' last film, In North to Alaska (1961), John Wayne's character's hair flies off with the first punch of a fight with Kovacs as a con artist.

Sail a Crooked Ship, was released shortly before his death.

Born Jan 23, 1964
Age:   48 years old

Mariska Hargitay, (born Mariska Magdolna Hargitay) is an American actress, best known for her role as New York City sex crimes Detective Olivia Benson on the NBC television drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a role that has earned her multiple awards and nominations, including an Emmy and Golden Globe.

The daughter of actress Jayne Mansfield and actor/bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay, Hargitay is a former beauty queen who made her film debut in the 1985 horror-comedy film Ghoulies, and her major television debut in the 1986 adventure drama series Downtown. She appeared in numerous roles in film and television shows throughout the late 1980s and 1990s before being cast as Olivia Benson, a role that led to her founding the Joyful Heart Foundation, which provides support to women who have been sexually abused.

Born Jan. 23, 1898
Died: Mar. 2, 1987

Randolph Scott was an American film actor whose career spanned from 1928 to 1962. As a leading man for all but the first three years of his cinematic career, Scott appeared in a variety of genres, including social dramas, crime dramas, comedies, musicals, adventure tales, war films, and even a few horror and fantasy films. However, his most enduring image is that of the tall-in-the-saddle Western hero. Out of his more than 100 film appearances more than 60 were in Westerns; thus, "of all the major stars whose name was associated with the Western, Scott most closely identified with it."

Some of his films were: Seven Men from Now (1956)  The Tall T (1956)  Decision at Sundown (1957)  Buchanan Rides Alone (1958) Westbound (1958)  Ride Lonesome (1959) Comanche Station (1960)

In 1962 Scott made his final film appearance in Ride the High Country, a film now regarded as a classic.


Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it.

--Truman Capote