Real Journal v. Online Journal

23 Feb

For my 50th birthday, my wife gifted me with a journal. I have dedicated myself to write in it each day and have faithfully done that since November. I say that because this blog used to be my journal. I wrote as often as I could, and, hopefully, a lot of good stuff has been posted on here.

Obviously, my writing on this blog has slowed down considerably. Once, words flowed onto the screen. Now, they are a slow and dying trickle. I suppose that a few factors have gone into that.

Life got hectic, and I got out of the habit of writing.

I ran out of stuff that readers may find interesting. The last thing I wanted was a boring blog.

Whatever the reason, I can tell you that typing words is a lot easier than writing them out. There are times when I get going in the journal that my hands begin to cramp. Of course, that could be because I press into paper relatively hard when I write.

I have no idea where this is going other than to say that I am not doing justice to this blog. The blogging fire has somewhat been extinguished. My creativity has lagged. The information that I used to think was interesting to readers does not seem that interesting anymore.

Has this blog run its course? I hope not. I hope that I get back into the groove with posts that people may like to read. As of this moment, I am not really sure. I only know that the journal sitting on my desk has jumped ahead of the journal that is on this screen.

500 Best Movies of All Time?

3 Feb

A while back, I fell to the temptation of the grocery store magazine stand and bought 500 Best Movies of All Time, a money-grabber put out by Us Weekly. I thought it would be a ranking of 500 movies, and I would be able to list the ones that I have seen. Instead, they broke it down by category and added a bunch that almost made the list.

That means that the movies are in no particular order. With that being said, here are the ones that I have seen with a short description of each.

AvatarDances With Wolves in space

Black Panther – A great hero and a great villain

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

Casablanca – Great first name for the main character

Citizen Kane – A jigsaw puzzle and a sled

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial – No cell phones in those days

The Godfather – Still cannot believe that Fish was the traitor

Harry Potter (The Whole Series) – Great faculty reviews

Gone With the Wind – Looks different from a modern point of view

Inception – Do not dream of spinning tops

Pulp Fiction – John Travolta is everywhere

Raiders of the Lost Ark – It will melt your face

Rocky – The greatest fighter who never lived

Star Wars – A lot of people wear hoodies

The Wizard of Oz – Where does the Red Brick Road go

Titanic – Move over and let him up there

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Where is the truant officer

There’s Something About Mary – Brett Favre

The 40-Year Old Virgin – Sacrifice for the role

National Lampoon’s Vacation – I have been on that trip

Beverly Hills Cop – Great theme song

Chicago – Song and dance

Reservoir Dogs – Colors are the key

All the President’s Men – Deep Throat should still be a mystery

The Departed – Where is Whitey Bulger when you need him

Sin City – Great animation

L.A. Confidential – Great actors but thin plot

The Wolf of Wall Street – Not the only wolf

The Manchurian Candidate – Foreign meddling in an election

The Untouchables – Bring in the IRS

Rudy – Ugh

A Few Good Men – Lawyer v. Witness

Scent of a Woman – Pacino should have won for something else

Boogie Nights – The return of Burt

Million Dollar Baby – Not a happy ending

The Help – Watch out for the pie

Stand By Me – Best Stephen King adaptation

Lady and the Tramp – Spaghetti

Bambi – Thumper is a great sidekick

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – I still look for a Golden Ticket

The Searchers – John Ford, John Wayne and Ward Bond

Tombstone – Who set the building on fire

True Grit – Eyepatch

Unforgiven – They should never have killed Morgan Freeman

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Ecstasy of Gold

Superman – Strings attached

The Last of the Mohicans – Daniel Day-Lewis as a superhero

Guardians of the Galaxy – A talking tree and a talking raccoon.

True Lies – Arnold and Jamie Lee

Enter the Dragon – A Bruce Lee classic

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Best friends collide

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – He returns to Oscar glory

Back to the Future – 88 mph

Skyfall – One of the best non-Sean Connery Bond films

Argo – Harrowing escape

The Bourne Identity – Matt Damon as the toughest man alive

Taken – And rescued

Zombieland – Twinkies

The Dark Knight – When the villain steals the show

Die Hard – Is is a Christmas movie

Doctor Strange – Superheroes are strange

The Hunger Games – Reality television gone over the edge

Wonder Woman – A superhero for the ages

Silver Linings Playbook – Still not an Eagles fan

2001: A Space Odyssey – The monolith is trouble

Apollo 13 – Lost in space

The Matrix – Red pill or blue pill

The Fifth Element – Excellent science fiction

Predator – Hunters are hunted

Minority Report – Philip K. Dick

Star Trek – A truly new generation

Blade Runner – Deckard

Men in Black – Nice shades

Close Encounters of the Third Kind – Devil’s Tower

Good Morning, Vietnam – Perfect for Robin Williams

Caddyshack – Best golf ever

Ghostbusters – Who you gonna call

Braveheart – Blue face paint

Full Metal Jacket – Gomer Pyle and Joker

Top Gun – Definition of the 80s

Schindler’s List – Spielberg’s masterpiece

Apocalypse Now – Going in country to find Marlon Brando

The Bridge on the River Kwai – Blow it up

The Patriot – Not really accurate

Cast Away – Yes, Nashville got an NFL team

Dallas Buyers Club – McConaughey at his best

The Big Chill – Great soundtrack

Fast Times at Ridgemont High – Teenagers in the 80s

Network – The future of television

It’s a Wonderful Life – He got the wings

Rain Man – Charlie and Raymond

The Exorcist – Captain Howdy

The Lost Boys – Another great soundtrack

Jaws – Iconic poster

The Birds – What about all the poop

Rear Window – The perils of being a Peeping Tom

Gremlins – Watch out for midnight

The Silence of the Lambs – Fava beans and a nice Chianti

The Green Mile – Filmed nearby

The Sixth Sense – Not hard to figure out

Wow, that is an even 100 of what Us Weekly thinks are the 500 best movies of all time. I need to get to the theater more often.

Oh, here are some of the alternates I have seen.

Airplane! 

American Pie

Beetlejuice

City Slickers

Coming to America

The Hangover

Happy Gilmore

La La Land

Mary Poppins

Nashville

Walk the Line

American Gangster

Dirty Harry

The Fugitive

Goodfellas

Heat

Leon: The Professional

Ocean’s Eleven

Shutter Island

Training Day

The Usual Suspects

12 Angry Men

All the King’s Men

Almost Famous

Big

Casino

The Deer Hunter

Driving Miss Daisy

Fight Club

Forrest Gump

Gladiator

Good Will Hunting

The Breakfast Club

Frozen

Jumanji

The Jungle Book

The Karate Kid

Pinocchio

The Pirates of the Caribbean

Shrek

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

300

Armageddon

The Avengers

Blood Diamond

Casino Royale

Con Air

Deliverance

First Blood

The Game

Goldfinger

I Am Legend

Iron Man

Lethal Weapon

Mission: Impossible

The Road Warrior

Speed

Spider-Man

The Revenant

Thor: Ragnarok

Watchmen

X-Men

Zero Dark Thirty

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Ghost

The Graduate

Jerry Maguire

Out of Africa

Pretty Woman

District 9

Independence Day

Interstellar

Planet of the Apes

Starship Troopers

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Total Recall

Office Space

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Spaceballs

Stripes

Tootsie

Trading Places

Wedding Crashers

A Beautiful Mind

Catch Me If You Can

Chariots of Fire

Glory

JFK

Lincoln

The Social Network

Black Hawk Down

The Dirty Dozen

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Dunkirk

Patton

Platoon

Saving Private Ryan

Hoosiers

The Hustler

The King’s Speech

The Natural

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Remember the Titans

The Truman Show

Big Fish

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

The Crow

The Devil’s Advocate

From Dusk Till Dawn

Misery

Mulholland Drive

Mystic River

A Nightmare on Elm Street

No Country for Old Men

North by Northwest

The Prestige

Se7en

Unbreakable

V for Vendetta

Zodiac

So, that is 121 of the also-ran’s that I have seen. Wait, do the also-ran’s also count as part of the 500? Instead of counting, let us just say that I have seen 221 of the movies listed in a magazine that was a complete waste of money.

Movie Wisdom – Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez Edition

14 Jan

Last week, my wife and I saw The Mule, the latest movie starring and directed by Clint Eastwood. It kind of plodded along, but we cannot expect too much action from Clint these days. At some point in the movie, I noticed an actor that I recognized. However, I could not figure out why. That is when I went to the trusty Internet Movie Database to do some research.

The actor was Clifton Collins, Jr., and I knew him from Westworld, the HBO series based on the 1970s movie. When I started reading about him, I ran into an interesting fact. Clifton Collins, Jr. is the grandson of Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez, the character actor who played in several John Wayne movies. He is great as Carlos in Rio Bravo.

Gonzalez Gonzalez was “discovered” by Groucho Marx on You Bet Your Life. I put quotations around discovered because he had been a performer with his family since childhood.

To honor Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez, here is some wisdom that can be found from his movies.

From Rio Bravo

Man gets shot that’s got a gun, there’s room for reasonable doubt. Man gets shot that hasn’t got a gun, what would you call it?

From Hellfighters

There’s no mystery. There just seems to be.

From The Love Bug

Everything explains itself one way or the other.

Money serves to ease the pain.

From The Love God?

When will the government stop interfering with private business?

If you love your country, you’ll publish a filthy magazine.

The public wants sex, sex and more sex!

From Chisum

No matter where people go, sooner or later there’s the law. And sooner or later they find God’s already been there.

From Support Your Local Gunfighter

Everybody winds up dead sooner or later.

A man’s gotta’ be numb on both ends to earn his livin’ sittin’ on a horse.

You can’t gunfight a man sitting on your ass!

There are some things a man just can’t ride around.

We share the same ancestors as far back as Adam and Eve.

A man should spread happiness as he walks through life.

Love don’t work unless both people give.

 

 

 

Movie Wisdom – Sondra Locke Edition

16 Dec

A few days ago, the death of Sondra Locke was reported by sites across the Internet. Each one that I read focused on her relationship with Clint Eastwood. However, she was more than a side note in his career.

Sondra Locke was born in Shelbyville, Tennessee, a town about 60 miles from where I live. From there, she made her way to Nashville and finally to Hollywood, where she was nominated for an Academy Award in her first movie role. That type of beginning is a double-edged sword of great accomplishment and great expectation. However, her career would not be defined by either. It was defined by a relationship with one of the biggest stars in the history of Hollywood.

This post is not an examination of that relationship. It is a tribute to Sondra Locke by studying words of wisdom that can be found in her films.

From The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Well, the country may be free, but the beer ain’t!

Everything’s going much faster now.

Strange how life works itself out.

From The Outlaw Josey Wales

Dyin’ ain’t much of a livin’.

Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean.

It’s sad that governments are chiefed by the double tongues.

Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms.

Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.

Without a doubt, those are wise words.

From Every Which Way But Loose

You never know what you’re gonna find out.

From Bronco Billy

Every kid in America ought to go to school… at least up to the eighth grade.

You can be anything you want. All you have to do is go out and become it.

Don’t ever tell a lie.

From Any Which Way You Can

A hand out is what you get from the government, a hand up is what you get from a friend.

 

An Afternoon With the Musical Marcellino Family

4 Dec

This semester at Cumberland University, I taught History of American Music, which is the proper name for the School of Rock. I started with the music that inspired the early Rock n’ Roll stars and followed the evolution of that genre through the decades. We covered everything.

At the end of several classes, Michaela, one of my best students, said that her dad and granddad knew who we had discussed. At some point, I said that they needed to talk to the class. Well, a few weeks ago they did just that and told a lot of amazing stories.

Her grandfather Jerry Marcellino has had an amazing career. He began as a musician and was the opening act for a lot of established artists. Heck, he was on tour with Jerry Lee Lewis when the world found out that he was married to his 13-year-old cousin.

Jerry’s career as a musician did not work out, but he made his way into producing and songwriting. This began with his relationship with members of Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass and continued until he worked for Berry Gordy at Motown. In that job, he worked with Michael Jackson, The Supremes, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson and The Commodores.

The students really like his stories about Michael Jackson. They used to draw cartoons and trade with each other during recording breaks. Michael also pranked called Jerry, but he always knew it was Michael.

Michaela’s dad Yochanan Marcellino grew up around all of those people and eventually made his way into the musical profession as a manager. Through the years, he worked with Kansas, Jose Feliciano, Chaka Kahn, Lou Rawls and the Captain and Tennille. He is now a movie producer and is working on a film about Rocky Marciano.

However, they are not the only Marcellinos who have made an impact in the music business.

Muzzy Marcellino was a fantastic whistler who whistled for John Wayne in The High and the Mighty and who can be heard whistling in Hugo Montenegro’s version of the The Good, the Bad and the Ugly theme.

Jocko Marcellino was an original member of Sha Na Na and performed at Woodstock.

Dennis Marcellino was a member of Sly and the Family Stone.

Vince Guaraldi, whose mother was a Marcellino, wrote themes for the Peanuts cartoons.

In short, Michaela’s family lived the storied that I had been telling in class all semester. It was a true honor to meet them and have them talk to my class.

 

The Night My Dad Received the Legends of Lebanon Award

14 Nov

Every so often, our city honors a person who has been a business leader and civic leader in our community with the Legends of Lebanon Award.

From Left to Right: Alderman Fred Burton, my dad, my mom, Mayor Bernie Ash, me

Last week, that award was given to my dad.

It was a great night. He was thrilled, and the entire family could not have been prouder.

The proclamation reads as follows:

Charles Bell was born in Saulsbury, a community in eastern Wilson County, and grew up on the dairy farm owned by his parents Albert and Pauline Bell. During his childhood, there was no electricity or indoor plumbing, but his parents and his extended family, which included Uncle Chester and Aunt Selma Bell, instilled in him the importance of hard work. During the summers, Charles sold walnuts; counted cars for the state; measured tobacco; and showed his work ethic in various other jobs.

Charles graduated from Watertown High School, where he played football, and moved to Lebanon when he married Elaine Vanhook. He tried a few jobs but found his calling with the help of his father-in-law J.W. Vanhook. Together, they invested in a business to assemble storm doors and storm windows and sell them door-to-door.

From there, Charles formed Lebanon Aluminum Company, known as Le-Al-Co, which he owned and operated for 30 years. Under his leadership and salesmanship, the company grew to employ 400 people and have its products sold in 49 states and Great Britain. Windows and doors manufactured in Lebanon filled the shelves of Home Depot, K-Mart, J.C. Penny and regional hardware chains throughout the country.

Charles also founded Bell Door Company, which produced wooden doors. After several years of operation, he sold the business to Steves and Sons, which has maintained a manufacturing facility in Lebanon since the 1970s and continues to employ over 100 people.

Charles’ business ventures have not been limited to manufacturing. He served on the Board of Directors of Heritage Federal Bank, a Kingsport-based bank that had a branch in Lebanon.

He was also one of the founders and served on the Board of Directors of Wilson Bank and Trust, which is now one of Lebanon’s largest employers.

In addition, he was one of the founders of The Wilson World newspaper, which is now known as The Wilson Post.

Through the years, Charles has believed in serving his community. This began as a member of the Lebanon Jaycees, an organization that led projects such as the building of the Lebanon High School football stadium, which is now the Cumberland University football stadium.

In 1968, Charles was elected President of the Tennessee Jaycees, and, in 1969, he was elected Vice-President of the United States Jaycees. That same year, he was honored as one of Tennessee’s Outstanding Young Men.

When his time in the Jaycees was done, Charles continued to serve in various ways.

He is a 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Mason and a member of Shriners International.

He served on the Governor’s Cabinet as Commissioner of General Services for the State of Tennessee.

He has served on the Board of Trust of Cumberland University and the Belmont University Board of Trust.

For many years, he was a member of the Wilson County Water Authority Board.

A long-time member of Lebanon’s First Baptist Church, Charles has also served the church in many capacities, including Deacon.

Charles has also found time to invest in recreational activities. Never forgetting his time growing up on a farm, he has retained his love for agriculture and created Horn Springs Angus Farms. Through an extensive breeding program, his stock became the highest ranked angus herd in Tennessee and one of the best in the country. During Charles’ time as owner of Horn Springs Angus, cattlemen from throughout the nation traveled to Lebanon to attend the annual production sale.

For almost 25 years, Charles sponsored the Le-Al-Co Storms, a men’s slow pitch softball team that competed in the highest levels of the sport. They won 10 state championships and finished as the second ranked team in the nation in 1991. In 2010, Charles was inducted into the Tennessee Softball Hall of Fame as the sponsor with the most state championships and most wins in Tennessee history.

In 1991, Charles suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage while attending a meeting in Kingsport, Tennessee. He was 53 years old. Doctors gave him little chance to live and, if he lived, they believed he would be bed-ridden. With the determination and work ethic he displayed in business and community service, Charles went through years of rehabilitation to beat the odds.

He proved the doctors wrong and continued his work with Wilson Bank and Trust and his cattle operation. He also continued to provide a strong foundation for his growing family.

Charles and Elaine have two sons. Jack and his wife Meleia have two sons, Weston and Bronson. Rick and his wife Necole have one daughter, Isabella. Through everything he has done, Charles’ greatest accomplishment has been a loving husband, father and grandfather.

 

 

 

 

A Historic Night in Nashville

30 Oct

A few weeks ago, our friend Steve invited me to attend a historic lecture at the Nashville Public Library. Being someone who gives historic lectures every day, I was fired up to have the opportunity to hear someone else do it. I was especially fired up to hear Nathaniel Philbrick, the person who was speaking.

Last Monday, was the big night to hear some interesting stories, but the history began before the lecture. We had dinner at Woolworth on Fifth, a new Nashville restaurant that has an old story. It is named for Woolworth Five and Dime, which was in the same location for decades. Those stores were famous for their shopping but became infamous for their lunch counters.

Those of you who know Civil Rights history probably realize that the first lunch counter protests took place in Greensboro, North Carolina. African-American students sat at the segregated lunch counters as a way to fight against the injustice. However, you may not know that lunch counter protests were supposed to happen in Nashville first. Students from Fisk University and Tennessee A and I trained for months to carry out the protests. While they were training, the students in Greensboro just decided to do it.

That did not stop the Nashville protests. Rip Patton, John Lewis and others completed their mission to much abuse. In fact, it is the first time that Lewis ever got arrested. Woolworth on Fifth has rebuilt the lunch counter and honors those brave people by telling their story.

After dinner, we walked to the library to hear Philbrick talk about his latest book, “In the Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown”. It is the last of his American Revolution trilogy. I have yet to read those, but I have read “In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex” and “The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull and the Battle of Little Bighorn”.

After the lecture, we had the chance to meet Philbrick and get books signed.

At this point, I told him that have assigned “In the Heart of the Sea” to my freshman classes for years and have sold hundreds of copies. Like a good historian, he was appreciative of that.