Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Movie Wisdom – James Stewart Edition

25 Jun

My wife and stepdaughter are in Lowell, Massachusetts for a student conference. Therefore, I am holding down the fort. This includes keeping the dog fed and the house standing. It also gives me the opportunity to spend some time with my parents.

Tonight, my dad and I watched Bend of the River, a Western starring James Stewart and Rock Hudson in one of his early roles. It is a pretty good movie with a bunch of character actors from the 1950s. Jay C. Flippen, Harry Morgan, Frances Bavier and Royal Dano are just a few. It is also the first time I have ever seen Stepin Fetchit, a comedian who caused controversy by the racial stereotypes of his on-screen persona.

After watching the movie, I decided to look for movie wisdom in the films of James Stewart. After all, I do not have much else to do.

From Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Liberty’s too precious a thing to be buried in books.

Great principles don’t get lost once they come to light.

Don’t miss the wonders that surround you.

From It’s a Wonderful Life

No man is a failure who has friends.

Youth is wasted on the wrong people.

From Rope

We all do strange things in our childhood.

From The Stratton Story

A man has to know where he’s going.

From Broken Arrow

To talk of peace is not hard. To live it is very hard.

You should always wipe your hands on your arm after eating.

It is not easy to change, but sometimes it is required.

From Bend of the River

There’s a difference between men and apples.

Never mix marriage with gambling. Percentage is all against it.

From Rear Window

Nothing has caused the human race so much trouble as intelligence.

Sometimes it’s worse to stay than it is to run.

From The Man from Laramie

Everybody should have a place to remember and feel they belong to.

From Two Rode Together

Sometimes it takes a lot more courage to live than it does to die.

Well, there are some men you just can’t trust to stay where you put ’em.

I can tell when a man walks through that door whether he prefers blondes or brunettes, drinks whiskey or beer, plays blackjack or poker, is a cheapskate or a high roller.

From The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

Courage can be purchased at yon’ tavern.

From How the West Was Won

There ain’t much glory in trompin’ behind a plow.

It don’t pay to eat too much on an empty stomach.

There ain’t much glory in lookin’ at a man with his guts hanging out.

From Cheyenne Autumn

Now, as I understand it, a mademoiselle is a madam who ain’t quite made it yet – only younger and friskier.

From Shenandoah

When you love a woman without likin’ her, the night can be long and cold, and contempt comes up with the sun.

A man who eats with his hat on is going nowhere in a hurry.

From The Flight of the Phoenix

Insurance companies move in mysterious ways. Much like God… only far less generous.

From The Rare Breed

You cannot live with dreams.

A man in love is neither lord nor master of himself.

While beauty is skin deep, meanness runs all the way through.

From Bandolero!

There things a man ought never do – spit in church, scratch his self in front of his ma, and pick his nose.

 

 

 

 

“Travel America” and Me

20 Feb

The other day, we were flying to Arizona, and I picked up a magazine to read on the plane. Travel America lists over 250 places to visit in the United States. As I skimmed through the pages, I began to count all of the ones that I have visited. I have been lucky enough to travel to all 50 states and have seen some great stuff. This is a list of places that Travel America and I have in common.

Wait, here is a picture that I took on the trip to get you in the mood. It is in the Superstition Mountains.img_2279

Massachusetts

Paul Revere House

Old North Church

USS Constitution

New York

Central Park

Madison Avenue

Statue of Liberty

Empire State Building

Broadway

Niagara Falls

Pennsylvania

Independence Hall

Liberty Bell

National Constitution Center

Rhode Island

The Breakers

Florida

Walt Disney World

Kennedy Space Center

Everglades National Park

Miami Beach

South Beach

Georgia

River Street

Buckhead

Georgia Aquarium

World of Coca-Cola Museum

Kentucky

University of Kentucky

Louisiana

Garden District

Lafayette Cemetery

French Quarter

Louisiana State University

Mississippi

Ground Zero Blues Club

Delta Blues Museum

Natchez Trace

North Carolina

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Biltmore

South Carolina

Harbour Town Golf Links

Tennessee

Beale Street

B.B. King’s Blues Club

Graceland

Ryman Auditorium

Country Music Hall of Fame

The Hermitage

Union Station Hotel

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Alum Cave Trail

Cade’s Cove

Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Washington Monument

Lincoln Memorial

Arlington National Cemetery

Old Town Alexandria

Mount Vernon

Illinois

Michigan Avenue

Indiana

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Michigan

University of Michigan

Missouri

Gateway Arch

North Dakota

Badlands

Fort Mandan

Ohio

Progressive Field

Warehouse District

Oklahoma

National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

Cattleman’s Steakhouse

South Dakota

Badlands National Park

Wall Drug

Mount Rushmore

Crazy Horse Memorial

Custer State Park

Saloon #10

Mt. Moriah Cemetery

Arizona

Tombstone

Mission San Xavier del Bac

Grand Canyon

Canyon de Chelly

Goulding’s Lodge and Trading Post

Sedona

Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

Montana

Billings

Pompeys Pillar National Monument

Little Bighorn Battlefield Indian Memorial

Beartooth Highway

Glacier National Park

Going-to-the-Sun Road

Nevada

Death Valley National Park

Luxor

Excalibur

Venetian

New Mexico 

Carlsbad Cavern

Palace of the Governors

Inn of the Anasazi

White Sands National Monument

Texas

Sixth Floor Museum

South Congress Avenue

Sixth Street

River Walk

The Alamo

Utah

Bryce Canyon

Temple Square

Wyoming

Snake River

Grand Tetons National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Old Faithful Inn

Yellowstone Lake

Old Faithful

Lower Falls

Yellowstone River

Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Alaska

Glacier Bay National Park

Denali National Park

California

Universal Studios

HOLLYWOOD sign

Grauman’s Chinese Theater

Walk of Fame

Rodeo Drive

Golden Gate Bridge

Chinatown

Redwood National Park

General Sherman Tree

Sequoia National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Falls

Pacific Coast Highway

Hawaii

USS Arizona Memorial

Lanikai Beach

Volcanoes National Park

Waimea Canyon

Oregon

Haystack Rock

Columbia River Gorge

Mt. Hood

Historic Columbia River Highway

Crater Lake

Washington

Mount Rainier National Park

Get Away From Magazines

14 Jul

I have to stop going to the grocery store because I always buy some “Special Edition” magazine. “Special Edition” is the code for something that costs more than a regular magazine. Yesterday, I got one called Great American Getaways that was put out by LIFE.Getaway

I read it and decided that the money spent meant that I should do more than that. Therefore, we have a post.

This is going to be simple. List the getaways. Write if I have ever been to them. Yes or no answers will suffice.

Mount Desert, Maine – No

The Freedom Trail, Boston, Massachusetts – Yes

Franconia, New Hampshire – No

Block Island, Rhode Island – No

Mystic, Connecticut – No

Sag Harbor, New York – No

Tanglewood and Williamstown, Massachusetts – No

Stowe, Vermont- No

New York City, New York – Yes

Cape May, New Jersey – No

Cooperstown, New York – No

Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, No

The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. – Yes

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – Yes

Niagara Falls, New York – Yes

Sea Island, Georgia – No

Walt Disney World, Florida – Yes

The Florida Keys – No

Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia and North Carolina – Yes

Horse Country, Kentucky – Yes

Columbus, Indiana – No

Mackinac Island, Michigan – No

Nashville, Tennessee – Yes

Chicago, Illinois – Yes

New Orleans, Louisiana – Yes

Ozarks, Arkansas – Yes

Sand Hills, Nebraska – No

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota – Yes

Santa Fe, New Mexico – Yes

Land of the Anasazi, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico – Yes

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming – Yes

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Yes

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona – No

Alta, Utah – No

Glacier National Park, Montana – Yes

Las Vegas, Nevada – Yes

Death Valley, California – Yes

San Diego, California – Yes

Yosemite National Park, California – Yes

Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada – Yes

Oregon Wine Country – No

Mount Rainier, Washington – Yes

Big Sur, California – Yes

San Francisco, California – Yes

San Juan Islands, Washington – No

Redwood National Park, California – Yes

Volcano National Park, Hawaii – Yes

Lanai, Hawaii – No

Glacier Cruise, Alaska – Yes

The Brooks Range, Alaska – No

That is 29 visits out of 50 places.

Now, I promise myself that I will not buy more “Special Edition” magazines…until I go back to the grocery store.

 

Trivia Matters

9 Mar

For the last post, I did some major searching for all things 601. During that process, I went to the bookshelf and grabbed this huge trivia encyclopedia. It is a book that has been in my possession for a long time and has done an excellent job of filling my mind with useless information.Trivia

To borrow a quote from a friend, “I know all kinds of stuff that will not make any money or get me into heaven.”

Skimming this book, the idea popped into my mind that it may lead to a semi-interesting blog post. I will randomly flip through the pages a pick a piece of trivia for each letter.

A – Frederick Austerlitz is the real name of Fred Astaire.

B – Bowie, Arizona is the birthplace of John Rambo in the Rambo movies.

C – Caledonia is the ancient Roman name for Scotland.

D – William Driver, a sea captain from Salem, Massachusetts, coined the term “Old Glory” for the American flag.

E – John Etherington invented the top hat.

F – Jai Alai is played in a fronton.

G – Janet Guthrie was the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500.

H – Professor Harold Hill is the title character in The Music Man.

I – “I Darrin, Take This Witch Samantha” was the debut episode of Bewitched.

J – The J.D. in J.D. Salinger stands for Jerome David.

K – The Baby Ruth candy bar was originally called the Kandy Kake.

L – “Liberty, Intelligence, Our Nation’s Safety” is the motto of the Lions Club.

MMon Lei was a 50-foot Chinese junk owned by Robert L. Ripley.

N – A notaphilist collects paper currency.

O – Castor Oyl is the brother of Olive Oyl.

PPitching and Wooing is the autobiography of Bo Belinsky.

Q – Mary Quant created the miniskirt.

RWinston Churchill’s pet poodle was named Rufus.

S – Barbara Stanwyck’s real name was Ruby Stevens.

T – TCB were the letters on a gold pendant worn by Elvis Presley.

U – Upton Machine Company was the original name of Whirlpool.

V – Benedict Arnold fled to England on a ship named Vulture.

W – Woolworth is the bowling term for a 5-10 split.

X – XERB was Wolfman Jack’s radio station in American Graffiti.

Y – Yarrow, Stookey and Travers are the last names of Peter, Paul and Mary.

Z – Zog I was the last king of Albania.

That is the list. Yep, trivia matters.

 

 

The Weirdness of Thanksgiving

27 Nov

Thanksgiving is a weird holiday. Now, don’t get me wrong. I like Thanksgiving. In fact, it is my favorite holiday. It is just weird to me.

Unlike other holidays, it is not a religious festival. It doesn’t have a patriotic meaning like Independence Day, Memorial Day or Veterans Day. It doesn’t represent a new beginning like the first day of January. It’s as if the Powers-that-Be decided to create another holiday and stick it in the middle of the week to create a long weekend.

“Hey everybody, take the day off and eat as much as you can. Oh, don’t worry about buying gifts or fireworks or anything. Spend all of that money on food.”

It’s the holiday that celebrates pigging out. I have no problem with that, but the timing of it all is also weird. Like I said, they put it into the middle of the week.

“There are not many holidays scheduled for Thursday. Let’s go ahead and put it there.”

Also, it is very close – too close – to the end of the school year. We are working our way toward the end, and, BAM, it’s time to take a few days off. That means that we have one week left before exams. I like a break as much as anyone, but it would be nice if it came sooner. Thanksgiving being this late causes issues. Mainly, it’s too late to have the entire week off. Instead, we get a couple of days in October and a couple of days in November. If Thanksgiving was in October, then we could get an entire week like Spring Break. Unfortunately, the Powers-that-Be didn’t take my schedule into consideration.

In a related matter, Thanksgiving is awfully close to Christmas. When the Powers-that-Be created Thanksgiving, they probably didn’t realize that future people would begin Christmas preparations in August. They can’t be blamed for this, but Thanksgiving’s closeness to Christmas has made it a shopping and decorating launching pad. Instead of focusing on giving thanks, people see the day as the beginning of the next holiday. I just read that stores are getting the jump on Black Friday by opening on Black Thursday. Soon, we won’t even be pigging out. We will be making out shopping lists for Christmas.

All of that is weird, but, in my mind, the weirdest part of Thanksgiving is this pilgrim thing. According to various online dictionaries, a pilgrim is someone who travels to a holy place. In the United States, we look back at the Pilgrims who traveled on the Mayflower to Massachusetts. Since when is Massachusetts a holy place?

The people we know as Pilgrims were Puritans who didn’t like how things were working with the Church of England. I guess that thought they were going to a holy place where they wouldn’t have to listen to the archbishop, but I still don’t think pilgrim is the right word to describe them. I would go with colonists.

We have attached these colonists to our celebration of Thanksgiving because they were supposed to have had a Thanksgiving meal of their own. You see, they were struggling to survive in a harsh land, and the situation was looking bleak. Then, Native Americans came to the rescue. They brought food and helped the colonists survive.Pilgrims

That’s another weird part of Thanksgiving. I never understood why the Native Americans in the region did that. Why help out a bunch of trespassers who are dying off? In the tradition that has been passed down through numerous elementary school pageants, the Native Americans were Adam’s and Eve’s in a Garden of Eden who helped God’s people thrive in paradise.

I guess that’s what the colonists believed. I guess that’s what a lot of people still believe. Maybe, that’s why pilgrim was applied to the Puritans. They really did travel to a holy place in Massachusetts.

When I was a kid in those pageants, I never bought that, and it took a long time to get the real story. I will no chronicle the entire saga, but I will tell you a good place to find it. Charles Mann’s 1491: New Revelation of the Americas Before Columbus provides a great description. You will need to buy a copy to get the entire story, but the simple version happened like this.

The Puritans landed in the middle of a conflict between two native groups. One group had been devastated by diseases that had moved up from the Spanish colonies and found themselves in danger of invasion. When they saw the Puritans struggling, the leaders of this group had a decision to make. They could let the newcomers starve, or they could help them and gain allies against the stronger native group. Looking at a quick fix to the problem, the leadership went with the second option.

The Puritans did not travel to a holy place filled with Adam’s and Eve’s. They traveled to a complicated place filled with enemies and allies.

As we gather on Thanksgiving, we need to remember what we are giving thanks for. We are giving thanks for having a holiday in the middle of the week. We are giving thanks that we have a day to Christmas shop. We are giving thanks that some people got mad at their church. We are giving thanks that it got so bad that they decided to leave. We are giving thanks that a Native American leader found his people in such dire circumstances that he took a chance and allied with a bunch of outsiders.

In the long run, that decision didn’t work out very well. Are we supposed to give thanks for that, too?

The State of Music – Part 3

17 Apr

Well, we have made it to the long string of states that start with “M”, but I promise that we will get through it and move over to the “N” ones. I must confess that this project has become more tedious than I anticipated. However, I have happened upon some decent performers and songs. Without further adieu, here goes it with the next ten:

Massachusetts – Most remember the Bee Gees from the disco era, but they had a long and fruitful career before delving into that nonsense. One of their better songs was “Massachusetts”, and I choose it for a couple of reasons. One, I like it. Second, the Bee Gees have faced past tragedies and are going through another. Robin Gibb is currently in a coma; Maurice Gibb died almost a decade ago; Andy Gibb, the youngest brother, died in the late 1980s; and Barry Gibb bought Johnny Cash’s home (which is not too far away from me) only to have it destroyed by fire a short time later.

Michigan – This one comes straight from my iPod. I realize that “1823 S. Michigan Ave.” is not really named after the state. But, they name streets after states, so it has to count for something. Besides that, it is a cool tune by Magic Slim.

Minnesota – This one was a little tricky because I really couldn’t find anything. I did find some newspaper articles about how there aren’t many songs about Minnesota. However, I kept on searching and found a not-so-good song by Northern Light called – surprise – “Minnesota”. It’s weird to hear a Beach Boy-ish sound about a place with no beach.

Mississippi – There are a lot of Mississippi songs in a lot of different genres and by a lot of great artists. They range from social commentary to comedy, but I am going with something off the regular path. Mountain recorded “Mississippi Queen” about a prostitute, and, since I have written about the history of prostitution, it seemed fitting. Maybe that should be my next musical project – the best songs about whores.

Missouri – I am going more modern with this pick. Several weeks ago, I saw a David Nail, a new country artist that doesn’t sound very country. That’s the kind of country artist I like. He sang a song named for his home state of “Missouri”.

Montana – There is a herd of cowboy songs about Montana, and, as a historian of the American West, something inside makes me think I should pick one. I am not going to do that, though. Cowboy songs are kind of hokey to me. With that in mind, I choose “Hey Montana” by Eve 6 about a girl who needs to return to the mentioned state. By the way, Montana is one of my all time favorite states, and we are working on a “male family members” only trip this summer.

Nebraska – Known for corn, football and…that’s about it, Nebraska, like many others, has not inspired many songwriters. After a long and wandering search, I found a Josh Rouse singing “Dressed Up Like Nebraska”. It’s a rough video and tough to hear, but the song seems quite good.

Nevada – Las Vegas songs. Reno songs. Even songs about Hoover Dam. There are all kinds of songs about places within Nevada, but there is one excellent song named after Nevada. To preface, I will listen to anything by Mark Knopfler, and he had a record called “Sands of Nevada”.

New Hampshire – Going in, I thought this would be one of the hardest to get. As it turns out, it wasn’t difficult at all because Sonic Youth had a song called “New Hampshire”.

New Jersey – I found out one thing for sure. There are bunches of songs that refer to Jersey. However, I need the Jersey with the New in front of it and have found it with Red House Painters. I didn’t know this group before the state project began, but, when I heard it, I immediately downloaded “New Jersey”.

I am sixty percent into an alphabetized list of states and have used some good songs and some not so good songs. Honestly, I can’t wait to see what I find with the next two installments. To catch up with the states already covered, check out Part 1 and Part 2.