Sunday, May 31, 2009

Today In History........

In 1678..............

The Godiva Procession, a commemoration of the legendary ride was instituted as part of Coventry fair. The first person who portrayed Lady Godiva was a young boy. (I don't know HOW they pulled that off)

In 1913...............

The 17th Amendment to the Constitution, providing for the popular election of US senators, was declared in effect.

In 1916................

Off the coast of Denmark, British and German naval fleets met at the battle of Jutland.

Friday, May 29, 2009

And Movies Are As Bad As Eating Chocolate Ice Cream (Part II)..........

If you haven't figured it out by now, I am a big fan of movies. I love the classics, such as Casablanca and others, but I also enjoy the lesser known ones. I thought I would share these with you since you may not have heard of them and might want to check them out. All of them deal with some phase of history.

The Lighthorsemen

This film portrays the exploits of the Australian Light Horse (Mounted Infantry) in the middle east in World War I. Well filmed and written, it covers a little known facet of that war, the long struggle against the Germans and Turks in the holy land. Another more well known film, Laurence of Arabia showed a small part of this campaign and type of warfare, but this goes a bit more into the details of it. It also shows what is considered the last cavalry charge in history, the Light Horse's assault on the town of Beersheba.

The Real Glory

This is a hard to find Gary Cooper movie. It is set in the Philippines just after the Spanish-American War. Not many people are aware that in the early 1900's we were engaged in putting down a insurrection of Muslim rebels that had a great deal of similarities to what our troops face today in Iraq. Cooper portrays a army doctor who has to deal with both contagious diseases as well as training the local recruits for the Philippines Constabulary. His biggest difficulty is to be able to have these recruits to lose their fear of the Moros (the rebels) who are looked at with almost a supernatural fear.

David Niven also stars as a one of Coop's fellow officers and be sure to be on the look out for a very young Broderick Crawford.

Captain Blood

Sometimes, you just need to escape, and I can't think of a movie better to do it with. This was Errol Flynn's first famous role, and no one could have done it better. Errol was a young pup in this movie and is shows in the action scenes. The supporting cast is wonderful, particularly Basil Rathbone as the French buccaneer.

Treasure Island

This one is real hard to find. It's the version filmed by Turner a few years back and stars Charlton Heston as Long John Silver. It is closer to the book than any other version I have seen. It has a grittiness and realism that others lack. In this version unlike the others, you know that while Long John has affection for Jim Hawkins, that he would cut his throat in a heartbeat for the treasure if needed, just like a real pirate would. The soundtrack music by the Chieftains is like icing on the cake. Now if they would only bring it out on DVD before I wear out my v.h.s. tape.


Another Gary Cooper film set in 1763. This was time of Pontiac's rising. Cooper plays a officer of the Virginia Militia, fighting against renegade whites selling weapons to the Indians. Paulette Goddard is Cooper's love interest and the movie also stars Howard De Silva as the bad guy, Boris Karloff as the Indian chief, and again be on the lookout for a very young Lloyd Bridges as a British officer.

The Train

This movie stars Burt Lancaster as a leader of a group of French railway workers who were also in the anti-German resistance in World War II. Directed by John Frankenheimer when he was at the top of his game, it is a well crafted movie. The plot of the movie deals with the German attempt to steal a train load of famous artwork and transport it to Germany. One of the interesting things about this film is that Lancaster did ALL of his stunts for the movie, and it shows in the final product.

Cross Of Iron

This one is a Sam Peckinpah film which stars James Coburn. It's set in WWII on the Russian front which looks at the war through German eyes. It is your typical Peckenpaw slow-mo, blood fest, but does bring some interesting views to light and looks at the war with a whole different perspective.

Well that's it for now. What about you guys? Do you have any favorite movies that you think I or other folks should check out?

Money Makes The World Go Round........

A fool and his/her money are soon parted. I never really appreciated how true that was until a dear friend sent me this link.

And of course, I knew about these,

I think P.T. Barnum said it best:

Every crowd has a silver lining.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Today's Birthday Of Note.............

In 1907.................

Marion Michael Morrison, or as he was known to the entire world, John Wayne.

Need I say more?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Thanks Mac, Thanks A Lot...........'09

"When I go home people'll ask me, "Hey Hoot, why do you do it man? What, you some kinda war junkie?" You know what I'll say? I won't say a goddamn word. Why? They won't understand. They won't understand why we do it. They won't understand that it's about the men next to you, and that's it. That's all it is."
Sgt. Norm 'Hoot'

Once again it's Memorial Day and the talking heads on the tube are talking about the cost of gas, the cost of food and the cost of living in general. And once again, not very many people seem to be remembering that there is a much higher cost that we have paid and are STILL paying on this Memorial day for our freedoms. This country still has men and women on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as other hot spots the world over. These young men and women are paying the cost, day in and day out by their service that they willingly give to their fellow citizens. Some of this cost can be the time spent away from families, personal lives interrupted, financial loss. Other parts of this cost are a bit more grim, such as life changing injuries or death.

I am still somewhat bothered that the majority of Americans again don't seem to understand what Memorial Day is all about. Again, to most, all it means is it's the start of vacation season, cook outs and beach trips. Now don't get me wrong, it's a great thing that we have a country that we can focus on the the good life and not have pay attention to the more unpleasant things, but I can't help but think that we do a very great disservice to those who have and continue to pay that most awful price for us to enjoy these benefits by not recognizing their efforts and sacrifices. George Orwell said it best: " We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. " I personally make every effort to thank these warriors for what they have done for our country, both in word and deed. I walk up to people in uniform and say thanks, I see them eating in a restaurant I get the waitperson to give me their check. Small things, in the bigger scheme of things, but at least I feel like I am doing something to try to pay the debit that we owe these fine young men and women.

I am lucky in that in a very small degree I understand what motivates these young Americans to serve so unselfishly. They may first go in the service with thoughts of patriotism, service to country, or any of a number of other reasons. But why they stay, that gets a bit different. For the most part, they stay because of their buddies. I started out this entry with a quote from a scene in the movie, Blackhawk Down. A Delta Force soldier is about to go back out and look for some missing fellow soldiers in Mogadishu, Somalia. He makes that comment to a Army Ranger. When I saw that scene, I knew exactly what he meant. As a cop, I have felt the same way about the officers I worked with. We ate together, worked together, bled together, fought others together, fought amongst ourselves and became a family. I would do anything in the world for the officers I worked with, without question. In no way does day-in, day-out law enforcement come close to the danger of combat in the hills of Afghanistan or the mean streets of Iraq. But it did give me a feel for it. And for that, I am grateful.

So my appreciation for today's military comes not only from my head, but also my heart.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's The Weekend And The Living Is Easy............

It's been a slow week for me, the good wife gave me some kind of upper respiratory bug which I have been fighting as hard as I can. I sound like crap, but don't feel too bad. On a certain level, I am sorta glad I didn't have the surgery on Wednesday since I would have been dealing with a bad cold as well as post-op issues. So it IS a ill wind that doesn't blow you some good sometimes.

I recovered enough to entertain two of my pards who came by Saturday. I thought it might be a good day to grill out some nice New York strips as well as a big grate of mixed vegetables and some other odds and ends. I love to cook on the grill and ANY reason is a good reason to cook out. -grin- Add a big fresh salad with everything but the kitchen sink added and you are good to go. Oh yeah, homemade banana pudding for desert.

After a fine meal like that, the only thing better is just sitting at the dinner table. Quality time spent talking about anything and everything. Many problems of the world were solved, many stories told, many lies expounded on and many laughs were brought about. Even more than that, good friendships were reinforced and strengthened. Nothing better in the world than that. -grin-

Today In History..........

In 1626...........

The Dutch West Indies Trading Co.(Peter Minuet) bought the island of Manhattan from the Indians, paying with goods and beads worth about $24. (Having taken a trip to Bourbon St. in New Orleans, I was AMAZED what you can still get with a strand or two of beads) -grin-

In 1764...........

Bostonian lawyer James Otis denounces "taxation without representation" and calls for the colonies to unite in demonstrating their opposition to Britain's new tax measures.

In 1798...........

Being inspired by the French Revolution and believing that a French invasion of Ireland is imminent, Irish nationalists rise up against the British occupation, beginning what was called "The Year of the French"

In 1941...........

In an engagement lasting only 11 minutes, the German battleship "Bismarck" sank the British heavy battle cruiser "Hood" in the battle of the Denmark Straits in the North Atlantic. The Hood was struck by a German shell which penetrated into her aft magazines, detonating the ammunition stored there for her 15 inch guns. After that massive explosion, she sank in less that 3 minutes taking 1415 men to the bottom with her. There were only three survivors of her crew.

The last survivor of the Hood's crew, Ted Briggs, died at 85 years old on October4th 2008.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Today In History..........

In 1934................

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were shot to death in an law enforcement ambush that took place on a country road outside of Gibsland, LA. The team that took them out was led by Francis A Hamer a prior service Texas Ranger. At the time of the ambush, Hamer rather than being a serving ranger held a commission from the Texas Department of Prisons as a special investigator. Hamer had been hired by Lee Simmons, head of the Texas Department of Corrections to hunt Bonnie and Clyde down, no matter what, no matter how long it took. Hamer, who was a lawman of the old school was on the trail for 100 days before the ambush.

When asked about the killing of Bonnie, Hamer replied "I hate to bust the cap on a woman, especially when she was sitting down, however if it wouldn't have been her [sic], it would have been us."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


My surgery has been rescheduled for two weeks from now.

It's enough to make a preacher cuss. (I know I did)

I seem to have passed the stress test, (actuality I fell asleep in the middle of it) but because the Doctor couldn't be bothered to get the results to HIS boss in a timely manner so that he could check off on it and get it to my surgeon, they had to cancel for tomorrow.

It boils down to Empire building and power tripping on some of the Doctor's parts. They just will not do anything that they don't want to do. Irregardless of how it impacts on anyone else.

You could teach MONKEYS to fly better than that...............

(Excuse me while I wander off to calm down)

UPDATE: At 5:55 PM I got a call from the cardiac doc, he said I passed my stress test with "flying colors" and could go ahead and have my surgery in the morning. Of course this late in the day, there was nothing could be done to try to make that happen, so I am still on the two week wait.

Grumble, grumble, grumble...................

Round Up The Usual Suspects.................

I go in for my stress test this morning, then check in with my surgeon. There may be a wee bit of a delay on my surgery, since I now have some kind of a upper respiratory bug. With all the panic over swine flu, they may be too afraid to work on me, which may make me curse at least a little bit. We will see.

In other matters, I am missing my new jaw harp.

My good wife seems to think that one of the cats may have drug it off somewhere, but I have my doubts. Just as soon as I am able to, I shall round up TWICE the usual number of suspects and locate the missing item.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ah, The Smell Of The Black Powder Smoke And The Stand In The Street At The Turn Of A Joke.........

It was rainy and overcast all stinking day here at Casa Williams. I finally got tired of sitting around in the house, so I gathered up a yard chair, my shooting box, 4 of my black powder revolvers and my reproduction civil war poncho. Having everything in my little red wagon, I drug it down to the creek, where I proceeded to make a great deal of noise. I can't say that it was some of my best shooting, since I was shooting 4 different weapons with different sight pictures and calibers. I had reproductions of the Colt 1851 Navy, Colt 1861 Navy, Colt 1860 Army and a 1858 Remington. My target was some branches of a old deadfall and it reminded me of the scene in the movie "The Outlaw Josey Wales" when Josie started out practicing with his pistols. More misses than hits. But it DID feel good to burn powder. I did discover that I need to replace the factory nipples with stainless steel ones, since the Italians didn't show a lot of skill in making the ones I have. There was such a difference in the nipple sizes the percussion caps were either too tight, or too loose and was just a pain in the butt to deal with. Nothing overwhelming, but just something I didn't want to deal with.

After a few hours I went back up to the house, and spent a hour or so cleaning the messy weapons up, then back to sewing ditty bags for a friend in Canada. I got a email from the gentleman down in Texas that I sent the reproduction hammock to. He was tickled to death with it which made me a happy camper. A satisfied customer gladdens the heart. -grin-

I have been taken off of my old friend Motrin per Doctor's orders. I guess they are worried about my possible bleeding in surgery. They say that I can take Tylenol or Aleve but I have found that at least on me they are about as effective as M&Ms. So we will see what happens, but it isn't very nice at the present time.

One day and a wake up to go.............

Saturday, May 16, 2009

They Died Upon Their Fur...........

There has been much in the news these days about our allies and countries of the mid east and how important it is to have friends in that part of the world. One country I see mentioned every now and then is Turkey. Most folks discount this country, but I think that it's friendship may come in handy in the future.

I was doing some reading on the Korean War this week and ran across some references to Turkish soldiers in combat. Based on what I have read some of the most effective and aggressive troops in Korea were the Turks. A brigade of 5000 Turks engaged 8 times their numbers of Chinese near Wawon in November 1950. Observers said that these tall, pale eyed men with dark faces in their heavy great coats, wielding their long bayonets refused to fall back. The Turkish officers would take off their hats, tossing them on the ground, marking a spot from which they would not retreat, and being surrounded by the Chinese died "upon their fur" There were others, who all else failing, threw cold steel at their enemies in bayonet charges. Very few of the Turks survived this engagement.

Later, representatives of the American government apologized to the Turkish government over the lost of their soldiers, which was by most accounts due to the incompetence of American officers commanding the forces in the area. The Turks almost couldn't understand what the Americans were talking about. After all, the Turks while perhaps badly used, had come to fight, and the Turks were proud of what their men had done.

Perhaps the Turk of 1950 is different from the Turk of today, but I doubt it. I would say that it might not be a bad idea to keep them as friends and allies of ours.

Mighty Toothsome!

A very dear friend gave me this recipe and I thought I would share it with you all. As Granny use to say, It's mighty toothsome, (Her term for something darn good to eat)

English Toffee


1/2 pound of unsalted butter (two sticks) room temp.
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup corsely chopped Almonds
1 TBS. light corn surup


large cookie sheet
heavy saucepan
wooden spoon
rubber spatula

1. butter the cookie sheet and set aside

2. In saucepan combine room temp butter, sugar, salt, and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly with wooden spoon for about 4 minutes.

3. turn the heat to high, add the almonds and continue cooking for about 7 minutes again stirring constantly until the mixture turns a light brown.

4. turn the mixture out on the prepared cookie sheet, spreading it out evenly with the spoon or spatula. Let cool and break it into small pieces.

NOTE: If you have the time and inclination, you can spread the almonds pieces out on a spare cookie sheet and toast them a wee bit in the oven, it improves the taste of the toffee but even if you don't take this step, this stuff is SOME kind o' good.

I've Been Waiting A Long Time, For This Moment To Come

It looks like I am on final approach to getting my life back on the track.

This coming Tuesday I go in to have a cardiac stress test and have a portal placed in my carotid artery in which they are going to place a filter to stop blood clots from traveling around in my body. Then Wednesday, I go in for surgery. They say I will be in for around 4 days, with a recovery of 4 to 6 weeks.

Strangely enough, although I don't particularly care for hospitals or surgery, I am not dreading going in. I look at this as a first step on the road back to my normal self. So wish me luck.

I was contemplating how much time I have spent waiting in my life. I guess that's why I have the patience that I have. Back in my Police days I would spend hours watching things, places or people and never get bored. I became a people watcher. The good wife has said that I look at people like I would monkeys in the zoo, and I can't argue the point with her. It has always been fascinating to me to watch the world go by, always changing, always interesting.

On other subjects, I have almost finished taking care of a bunch of "loose ends" I wanted to get done before the hospital trip. I finished a reproduction sailor's hammock and sent it down to a gentleman in Texas, sent off some packages, did some adjustments on various projects, got other stuff ready to take in with me to work on while I am laid up. So all in all, I figure other than one or two other small things I am good to go.

A small scale war has broken out at Casa Williams. The good wife has been taking voice lessons and has been doing various exercises to strengthen her voice. I personally don't think it needs to be any stronger since it sounds fine to me, so in self defense I bought a jaw harp (sometimes called a Jew's harp) and have been learning to play the all time classics "ol zip coon" and "possum up de sweetgun tree" It makes for a highly musical homestead. -grin-

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Day of Rememberance...............

Today is National Peace Officers Memorial Day.

This day is set aside to commemorate the more than 19,000 law enforcement officers who have died in the performance of their duties in the United States. The very first recorded death in the line of duty was that of U.S. Marshal Robert Forsyth who was shot to death on January 11th, 1794 while attempting to serve civil papers on a subject in Georgia.

Please take a moment today, to pause and remember these brave men and women who served their fellow man only too well.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends"
John 15:13

Today In History..............

In 1718................

Mr. James Puckle a London lawyer patented one of the world's first machine guns. The Puckle gun came equiped with interchangeable barrels and cylinders to fire round balls at Christians and square bullets at Turks and other infidels.

Mr. Puckle made no bones about the possible use of this weapon when he put this on the pattern drawing.

"A Defense
Defending King George, Your Country and Laws
To Defend Yourselves And The Protestant Cause"

This weapon believe it or not worked, but was way too radical to be fully appreciated or adopted. It was a idea and invention way before it's time.

In 1963.................

Astronaut Leroy Gordon "Gordo" Cooper blasted off from Cape Canaveral Fla. on what was the last mission of the Mercury Space program. Cooper made 22 complete orbits of the earth and was the last American to go into space alone.

It's Quarter 'Til 3, There's No One In The Place, But You And Me.............

It's one of those nights.

Pills ain't working, and I am tossin' and turnin' so rather than keep the good wife up, here I sit.

I have been doing a lot of remembering. Thinking about when I was growing up and the memories of my childhood and how the things I experienced affected me as I grew and became a man.

Every summer, I would be sent down to my Grandparent's home in the Sandhills of North Carolina. I think my mom just needed some time off from the three jobs that she held, (the worst no doubt, was raising me, little hellion that I was) so for two weeks I would be in a little town outside of Fayetteville. It was rather fun because I had two cousins that I could run around with, doing all the things that young boys did.

I must have developed my affection and admiration for strong women from those days. My grandmother was the the matriarch of the family. She had to be since she had 8 kids, 4 boys and 4 girls. One of the boys died at the age of two, because they couldn't afford to take him to the doctor for a cut that turned septic. But she raised the rest to adulthood.

My grandmother was a big woman, her hands twisted and gnarled with arthritis. She had lived a life full of hard work, and it showed. She never stopped working, always had to be doing something. Her day normally started before dawn, getting up to fix breakfast, starting the coffee in the big percolator she kept going all day and taking care of other chores around the house. Then once the breakfast dishes were done, she would go out to her garden, to do all she could before the "heat of the day" as she called it. then she would start on dinner. ( Now for all you uncultured types and Yankees, we had three meals, Breakfast, Dinner and Supper)-grin-

Dinner was always the big meal, we had such a big group eating, that the adults always ate first, then the kids came in. Let's see, we would have hot biscuits, bowls of fresh green beans, collards, black eyed peas, field beans, butter beans, tomatoes, all fresh from the garden, or canned by my Grandmother. They were always cooked with ham hock or fatback. Most of the time, a big ham was served, or fried chicken, not much beef that I can remember. Fridays we always had fish of some type.

My grandparents lived in a fairly large wooden house. I remember it had large windows, high ceilings and I don't think it had one bit of insulation. They had box fans in the summer and had all the windows open all the time. Thinking back, it had to be miserable for her to cook in the summertime, but I don't remember it being that bad. I guess we were acclimated to the heat, since I didn't stay in a house with air conditioning until I was around 18. I never remember hearing my grandmother complain about the heat, she just did what she had to, to keep the house running.

We normally ate supper around 6 or so, then when the kitchen was cleaned up, we would either go out in the backyard, or on the front porch. This was when grandma would relax. She would take off her shoes as she put it "to ease her feet", get her tin of Railroad Mills snuff and either sit on the front porch swing or in a old metal chair in the back yard and just visit as she put it. Now grandma did dip snuff, but she was very polite about it. She always had her spit can, which she lined with paper towels to keep from making any noise when she spit. Most of the time she would have something to work on when she was sitting, perhaps peeling peaches, or snapping beans for the next days meal.

Grandma was a story teller. She would tell us about our family, where we came from, our history. The hard times and good times that she had lived through. She was opinionated and was almost unshakable in what she believed. I remember once when one of my uncles was telling a story about a incident he had seen in town where one person had slapped another, my grandmother, after spitting in her can, said, "Well iffin' he had done that to ME, I would have gone home and got me a forty some odd, come back and blew enough meat off his bones to feed a dog for a week" She then spit again and didn't say anything else. There was no doubt in any one's mind that she meant every word that she said. Grandma was very old school and thought that "The S.O.B. had it coming" was a viable defense in a murder case.

She was alive when the Wright brothers had made the first flight, and had lived to see man on the moon, but she had her doubts about that. My Grandmother thought the moon landing was fake, (She thought that they filmed it in Hollywood) but firmly believed that wrestling on TV was real. Grandma didn't watch much T.V., she thought for the most part it was a waste of time but however there was an exception to this rule. Every Saturday evening, she would get in front of the TV and watch championship wrestling to cheer on her all time hero, Johnny Weaver. I can remember her so clearly yelling at the TV and almost falling off the couch in her enthusiasm when "Her Johnny" was in trouble. After the wrestling show was over, she would keep watching either the Porter Wagoner or Wilburn Brother's show. She didn't care too much for most of the music but always liked the hymns that they sang at the end of the show. She would always sing along, knowing all the lyrics of every song they ever sang.

My grandmother died as she lived. One of my uncles found her out in her garden, the victim of a massive heart attack. She still had her hoe in her hand. She died in the dew covered garden she loved so well and used to feed her family, before "the heat of the day".

The funeral was like any other funeral, but I did have my own contribution to it that no one until now ever knew about. When no one was looking, I slipped a tin of Railroad Mills snuff in the coffin with her.

I think she would have appreciated it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Today In History...............

In 1494.............

Columbus discovered Jamaica future home of some of the the finest rum made. -grin-

In 1607.............

Some natives were having a little cookout on the beach in Virginia when three big Europeans ships pulled up and a bunch of strangely dressed folks came ashore, nudged them off the beach and into the woods. This was the beginnings of the Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America.

However, it is not recorded if the natives were heard to say, "Well there goes the neighborhood"

In 1796.............

Dr. Edward Jenner, performed the first successful vaccination against smallpox on a 8 year old boy in England. This laid the foundation of modern immunology.

In 1948.............

The independent state of Israel was proclaimed 8 hours before the British mandate over Palestine was set to expire.

In 1955.............

A slightly rotund gentleman with a spit curl plastered to his forehead and his band changed musical history forever when their song, "Rock Around The Clock" hit the charts. It had been little noticed when first released, but it was used as the opening song for the movie "Blackboard Jungle" It took off from there. Bill Haley and the Comets never had another hit as successful as this song, but this song is considered as one of the pivotal songs of all of Rock and Roll. Not bad for a one hit wonder band.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Today In History.......................

May 13th 1940..........

Winston S. Churchill, on May 10th 1940 became Prime Minister of Great Britain. In his first speech to the House of Commons on May 13th, asked for a vote of confidence in the new coalition government that he had organized. But even more importantly, he used the speech to both rally the British people to the war effort, and to lay out his vision of how the war against Nazism would be fought. It has to be one of the greatest speeches made. I have taken the liberty of attaching it below for your reading pleasure.

I beg to move,

That this House welcomes the formation of a Government representing the united and inflexible resolve of the nation to prosecute the war with Germany to a victorious conclusion.

On Friday evening last I received His Majesty's commission to form a new Administration. It as the evident wish and will of Parliament and the nation that this should be conceived on the broadest possible basis and that it should include all parties, both those who supported the late Government and also the parties of the Opposition. I have completed the most important part of this task. A War Cabinet has been formed of five Members, representing, with the Opposition Liberals, the unity of the nation. The three party Leaders have agreed to serve, either in the War Cabinet or in high executive office. The three Fighting Services have been filled. It was necessary that this should be done in one single day, on account of the extreme urgency and rigour of events. A number of other positions, key positions, were filled yesterday, and I am submitting a further list to His Majesty to-night. I hope to complete the appointment of the principal Ministers during to-morrow. the appointment of the other Ministers usually takes a little longer, but I trust that, when Parliament meets again, this part of my task will be completed, and that the administration will be complete in all respects.

I considered it in the public interest to suggest that the House should be summoned to meet today. Mr. Speaker agreed, and took the necessary steps, in accordance with the powers conferred upon him by the Resolution of the House. At the end of the proceedings today, the Adjournment of the House will be proposed until Tuesday, 21st May, with, of course, provision for earlier meeting, if need be. The business to be considered during that week will be notified to Members at the earliest opportunity. I now invite the House, by the Motion which stands in my name, to record its approval of the steps taken and to declare its confidence in the new Government.

To form an Administration of this scale and complexity is a serious undertaking in itself, but it must be remembered that we are in the preliminary stage of one of the greatest battles in history, that we are in action at many other points in Norway and in Holland, that we have to be prepared in the Mediterranean, that the air battle is continuous and that many preparations, such as have been indicated by my hon. Friend below the Gangway, have to be made here at home. In this crisis I hope I may be pardoned if I do not address the House at any length today. I hope that any of my friends and colleagues, or former colleagues, who are affected by the political reconstruction, will make allowance, all allowance, for any lack of ceremony with which it has been necessary to act. I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realised; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal. But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, "come then, let us go forward together with our united strength."

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ode To My Mother........

Since tomorrow is Mother's day I thought I would take a few moments to recognize one of the greatest women I know, my Mom.

My people, for the most part were not what you would call upwardly mobile. We were tenant farmers, cotton mill workers and common laborers, with enough white trash tossed in to season the mix. All the men folk would serve a hitch in the "service" then end up in a dead end job for the next 30 years. The women would raise young 'uns and keep house, until the kids were old enough to be put in school. Then they would go out and find a job to help make ends meet with the household budget.

My mom, wanted to break that pattern. When she graduated from High School,(one of the first in her family to do this) she tried to continue her education so that she could become a nurse. Her father forbid her to do this, and told her to get married and get a job in the mill. Mom, the dutiful daughter did that, since her fathers word was law in the family.

For those who have never worked in a mill, let me tell you a little about it. The noise is almost overwhelming, the weaving machines never stop, from the time you clock in to the time you clock out. It is always humid, the thread works better that way and keeps the cotton dust down. (Never enough however, since brown lung was a big problem in those days. To show how bad it could be, of the members of my mother's family, her father, three of her brothers and one of her sisters died of emphysema or other brown lung related diseases) The work in the mill is repetitive and boring, management isn't very worker friendly,and you get a 30 minute meal break and a 15 min smoke break out of 8 hours. They had what was called a "dope wagon" a little cart that came through the weaving room, that would sell workers Coca-Colas in the small glass bottles (I think they were the little 8 oz ones) and either Goodies, or B.C. headache powders. Both the soda and headache powders contained a good dosage of caffeine which would help you get through the shift. In the summer time, the temps in the weaving room could get over 100 degrees for days at a time so it would just suck the energy and will out of you. But jobs were limited and the foreman could fire you on the spot so you tried to keep on doing what you had to do to keep that check coming in.

This is the kind of job my mom started out in. She met my dad and married him and they had my sister a few years later. Then a few years later, I came along. All this time, mom had started saving every penny she could get her hands on. You see, she had never gave up her dreams of going back to school and becoming a nurse.

My dad, never really had any plans, or to be honest, a heck of a lot of motivation or ambition. He had dropped out of school in the 8th grade and did manual labor until he enlisted in the navy in WWII. He served in the Naval construction battalion (SEE BEES) in the Pacific, building airstrips and bases for American B-29's to bomb Japan from. On his return from the war, he drifted from one job to another, and also started drinking. The alcohol took control of his life and weekends became rather rough around the house when he started taking out his frustrations on mom and my sister and I. He wasn't very supportive of my mom, but she never gave up and continued to scrimp and save. When I was old enough to begin middle school, my mom went back to school. Now here is this lady working a full time job, doing everything she can do to keep my sister and myself on the right path, and going back to school full time. To this day, I don't have the slightest idea how she did it.

Mom told me that she was proud of me, that I would need to become a man sooner than I should have, because there was going to be a lot of times that I would be on my own and left to my own devices. I grew up real fast that day and the key focus of my life was to never disappoint or let down my mom and her faith in me. Mom always tried to teach me right from wrong, no matter how tired she was, no matter how busy she was, she always found some time for me. She taught me to always have good manners, to respect everyone's point of view, to treat everyone as I wanted to be treated, but never accept a personal wrong or insult. She made sure to give me the mental tools and common sense that I could use to figure out what the right thing to do was in any situation I was involved in. My mom was the original "Steel Magnolia"

Not that isn't to say that I was a little angel, as a matter of fact, I wasn't. Most folks that knew me, thought that I was going to end up in the state pen, making license plates as a career. It surprised more than a few people when I went into law enforcement as a career. Like most kids, I went through a rebellious period where I was always getting into something. But my mom could always cool my jets with a sharp word or cut of her eyes. Now what makes that even funnier, I was a big tough kid, almost 6 foot tall and sorta wide. My mom is a little bitty thing, maybe 5'2" tall.

She did finally get through school and became a nurse so she lived out her dream. The extra money she earned helped keep the family together and I think that she made a real difference in the lives of people that she took care of in her nursing career. When I graduated from Basic Law Enforcement Training and took my oath of office, it was my mom who pinned my first badge on my uniform.

Mom is still alive, and close to 91 years old. The lingering effects of the mills has left it's mark on her and she needs oxygen to get around, but while it has slowed her, it hasn't stopped her. I am going over to her house tomorrow and take her dinner and celebrate the day with her.

So if someone accuses me of being a momma's boy, I guess I would have to say yeah, I guess I am. Because whatever I am or have accomplished it is due to her love, support and guidance.

Come Cheer Up Me Lads, Tis To Glory We Steer.............

I have a wee bit of a ear worm working on me this weekend. The song,"Heart of Oak" as you can tell by my blog title. One of the reasons for this, is this You Tube clip:

This was a competition that was held by members of the modern Royal Navy to commemorate the gallant service of navy gun crews from the ships H.M.S. Powerful and Terrible. During the Boer War they marched with their artillery pieces to assist and support the British Army in their attempt to relive the siege of Ladysmith in South Africa.

This competition is hardcore to the max. These men trained for months before the competition, injuring themselves even to the extent of traumatic amputations of fingers. But to show how dedicated and motivated these guys were about this contest, they would get stitched up, bandaged up and go right back to practice. I don't think the competition is still held, which is a shame. Check out the clip and see if you agree with me.

Well, let see. Since I last blogged, I went to San Juan, P.R. and returned, finished up a few projects, Finally got information on some surgery I have been needing and generally just caught up on things around Casa Williams.

San Juan was a great deal of fun. I couldn't get around like I wanted to due to my knees, but since this was my second trip I knew what to expect. Thanks to the assistance of other members of my hospital, I was able to focus more on interaction with the public and enjoying the sites and sounds of the old city. Old San Juan is of course a old town, with cobblestone streets. Some of the cobblestones sections are over 300 years old. The streets are narrow and parking is at a premium. So if you ever end up in the town, don't plan on driving. Walk or catch a cab.

The old buildings are very narrow, but are built upwards for more living space. Buildings could have as many as 4 or 5 stories and sometimes have gardens and patios on the roofs. Painted in pastels, with dark wood doors and window frames, the buildings of the old city are very beautiful and inviting.

This trip I got a chance to interact with some of the locals a great deal more than last time. Almost all that I had dealings with were warm and welcoming, grateful that we had come down to help them rediscover their history and heritage. I can't even count the number of times I was invited out to have a drink or for something to eat by the locals. I couldn't take advantage of those kind offers, since pain pills and booze just don't mix, and the night life in San Juan starts at 11:00 P.M. I will admit that I am getting just a little long in the tooth to be out parting all night long.

In talking to the people that came by our set up, I found that the local schools didn't teach the kids anything about the history of the island. That is a damned shame with as such a rich and varied historical record as San Juan and all of Puerto Rico has. In our own small way, I hope that I sparked a interest in the local heritage with all out visitors.

Also being a big time foodie, I developed a taste for the local food. (Not that I have ever turned down much of ANY type of food) I picked up a few recipes that I hope to try to reproduce here at the Casa. I have to convince my dear wife that I can indeed do something with plantains and other odd (at least to our southern taste and traditions) stuff. I will report on the results of my experiments.-grin-