Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fifty Years Ago...

...I was thirteen and home from school because I was sick.
Fifty years ago there were no one-hundred cable channels...only a few to watch while I was home sick.
Fifty years ago I sat bundled up in the chair and watched the only thing on television, the new President giving an inaugural address.
Fifty years ago I discovered a new hero.
Fifty years ago I began to think about what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Fifty years ago I began to dream.

I never got a chance to fulfill that dream.
But in those fifty years I became the person I am today, with a little help from the words of that new President.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

True Grit vs True Grit

As I watched the 1969 version of True Grit last night I realized I'd never seen it. Fascinating how scenes from a movie become such a part of the culture that I could think I'd seen it.

But it had been made in 1969 and I was a new RN just out on her own trying to hold everything together with very little money; movies were a luxury I couldn't afford.

And so I watched the John Wayne epic after seeing Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn.
The differences?
Oh, there are many of course - because of the time each movie was made, because of the producers, because of the directors, but not so much because of the actors.

I know Jeff Bridges wasn't playing John Wayne, he was playing Rooster. So much has been written lately that Wayne played Rooster as Wayne. I think Rooster Cogburn was John Wayne...or the person John Wayne had always wanted to be and therefore, was. So when Bridges played Cogburn, he was actually playing John Wayne's alter-ego. And I have no romantic notions about The Duke. I grew up in a household where he was almost revered; in fact my father once had a portrait of him that he displayed proudly. I never would have liked Wayne's political ideals and still don't, but damn it, some part of me admires Rooster and therefore, in a round-about-way, Wayne.

Maddie of course is another thing altogether. Maddie in the first movie is softer, rounder - the way women were supposed to be in the late 1960s, even though the women's movement had taken hold. The ideal woman cared for her family and was feisty but not too feisty. Maddie today is a product of her real-time. She's bright but she's hard and driven because a woman alone (and she is a woman, no matter how old she is in the movie) had to be. She couldn't let anyone see her break. In the first movie there's a scene where Maddie cries over her dead father's "traps" - there's no similar scene in the second.

Another big difference, other than the endings (I liked today's ending better because I like epilogues) is the setting. Westerns at the end of the 1960s were going out of style. Maybe the producers and the directors felt that this one needed the back-drop of the west - the expanse of meadows and mountains, trees and valleys. The scenery in the 1969 version was beautiful. In 2010 it's bleak, a reflection of the story and the times.

The 1969 True Grit still stands the test of time. There is something stirring about watching Rooster/Wayne take the reins in his mouth, guns in each hand (twirling one) and charging the outlaws. He was like the knight in shining armor, only old, fat and one-eyed.

The 2010 True Grit will also stand the test of time. Jeff Bridges is no less a knight to his Maddie than John Wayne was to his.

I will get both on DVD.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Because This May Be Very Important....

This is from my favorite paranormal blog:

I post it, not because I think there's a "conspiracy" (except maybe for a conspiracy of stupidity) but because we should be aware of these animal/fish deaths and we should be tracking them and the reasons.
We could be the next species to die in mass numbers.

Posted: 07 Jan 2011 09:51 AM PST

8,000 Turtle Doves Fall Dead in Italy - Animal Deaths Increase Worldwide

* Blue stain believed to be sign of poisoning or hypoxia - lack of oxygen that is precursor to altitude sickness
* Cold weather and overbreeding blamed for deaths of two 2million fish in Chesapeake Bay
* Disease behind deaths of 100,000 fish in Arkansas River
* At least nine incidents of mass animal deaths across the globe
* Hundreds of confused birds plummeted to their deaths in multiple locations in the U.S.
* Rapid movement of Magnetic North Pole towards Russia may have caused bird deaths

dailymail - Thousands of dead turtle doves rained down on roofs and cars in an Italian town in the latest in a growing spate of mass animal deaths across the globe.

Residents in Faenza described the birds falling to the ground like 'little Christmas balls' with strange blue stains on their beaks.

Initial tests on up to 8,000 of the doves indicated that the blue stain could have been caused by poisoning or hypoxia.

A witness told 'We have no idea why this happened all of a sudden.

'The doves just started falling one-by-one then in groups of 10s and 20s.'

Hypoxia, a lack of oxygen, is known to cause confusion and illness in animals. It is also a common precursor to altitude sickness.

Experts said results from tests on the doves will not be available for at least a week.

They said that cold weather could have caused the birds' deaths as the flock was swept into a high-altitude wind storm before falling to the earth.

It comes after two million dead fish were found to have washed up on shores in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.

The alarming find is being blamed by authorities in Maryland on the stress caused by unusually cold water and overbreeding among spot fish.

That investigation comes just days after the deaths of an estimated 100,000 fish in northwest Arkansas, which is being blamed on disease.

A statement by the Maryland Department of the Environment said: 'Natural causes appear to be the reason.

'Cold water stress exacerbated by a large population of the affected species (juvenile spot fish) appears to be the cause of the kill.'

Preliminary tests of the water in Chesapeake Bay have showed the quality was acceptable, officials said.

The statement added: 'The affected fish are almost exclusively juvenile spot fish, three to six inches in length.

'A recent survey showed a very strong population of spot in the bay this year. An increased juvenile population and limited deep water habitat would likely compound the effects of cold water stress.'

Mass winter deaths among spot fish have occurred twice before in the Maryland area - in 1976 and 1980.

The incident is the latest mass animal death to hit the headlines in the last two weeks.

These include:

* 450 red-winged blackbirds, brown-headed cowbirds, grackles and starlings found littering a highway in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
* 3,000 blackbirds on roofs and roads in the small town of Beebe, Arkansas
* Thousands of 'devil crabs' washed up along the Kent coast near Thanet
* Thousands of drum fish washed along a 20-mile stretch of the Arkansas River
* Two million small fish in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland
* Thousands of dead fish found floating in warm Florida creek
* Hundreds of snapper fish found dead in New Zealand
* Scores of American Coots found dead on Texas highway bridge

Experts have speculated that New Year fireworks, thunderstorms, cold weather, parasites and even poisoning may be behind the deaths.

But conspiracy theorists have also speculated on the internet that secret government experiments could be behind them, with some even claiming it was a sign of a looming Armageddon at the end of the Mayan calendar next year.

Another theory is that the rapid movement of the Magnetic North Pole towards Russia may have affected the birds' innate navigation systems.

Inbuilt navigation systems in birds and fish is believed to be affected by magnetism.

Scientists have said the Magnetic North Pole is shifting at an average of around 25 miles a year.

With birds and fish relying on it to travel to breeding grounds and warmed climes, there are fears that the shifting pole could be confusing the animals which means they do not migrate in time to avoid cold weather.

Tests are being carried out on the dead birds and fish, but results are not expected for several weeks.

Scientists have been baffled by the sudden deaths of hundreds of birds which have plummeted to the ground seemingly simultaneously in several locations.

Two hundred American Coots were found dead on a highway bridge crossing Lake O' the Pines in Big Cypress Creek, Texas.

They are believed to have been hit by passing vehicles while walking or apparently trying to roost on the bridge.

Swedish experts blamed the shock of New Year fireworks for the unexplained deaths of 50 jackdaws found on a street in Falkoping, Sweden.

Many of the birds are believed to have died from stress or as a result of being run over while disoriented.

The largest incident took place in Beebe, Arkansas, were horrified revellers witnessed around 3,000 blackbirds crashing to their deaths into homes, cars and each other as they celebrated New Year.

Another 450 birds were found strewn along a highway in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after apparently hitting overhead power lines.

In both cases, the birds are believed to have become confused and were flying at a lower height than usual.

The deaths of tons of fish across the globe is being attributed to unusually cold water.

Thousands of Brazilian fishermen have been left struggling to make ends meet after the sale of seafood was temporarily suspended when masses of fish were discovered in Paranaguá, Antonina and Guaraqueçaba Pontal do Paraná.

Fish were also discovered rotting and floating in Spruce Creek, Florida, after another period of cold weather.

100,000 drum fish were found strewn along the shore of the Arkansas River.

And the cold snap has been blamed for the deaths of 40,000 Velvet swimming crabs - known as 'devil crabs - found littering beaches in Thanet, Kent.