Bring Me That Horizon

Welcome to jennyweber dot com

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Home of Jenny the Pirate

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This will go better if you

check your expectations at the door.

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We're not big on logic

but there's no shortage of irony.

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 Nice is different than good.

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Oh and ...

I flunked charm school.

So what.

Can't write anything.

= Jennifer =

Causing considerable consternation
to many fine folk since 1957

Pepper and me ... Seattle 1962

  

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Belay That!

This blog does not contain and its author will not condone profanity, crude language, or verbal abuse. Commenters, you are welcome to speak your mind but do not cuss or I will delete either the word or your entire comment, depending on my mood. Continued use of bad words or inappropriate sentiments will result in the offending individual being banned, after which they'll be obliged to walk the plank. Thankee for your understanding and compliance.

= Jenny the Pirate =

Hoist The Colors

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I am a Blue Star Mother

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Insist on yourself; never imitate.

Your own gift you can present

every moment

with the cumulative force

of a whole life’s cultivation;

but of the adopted talent of another

you have only an extemporaneous

half possession.

That which each can do best,

none but his Maker can teach him.

= Ralph Waldo Emerson =

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Represent:

The Black Velvet Coat

In The Market, As It Were

 

 

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Contributor to

American Cemetery

published by Kates-Boylston

A Pistol With One Shot

Ecstatically shooting everything in sight using my beloved Nikon D3100 with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR kit lens and AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G prime lens.

Also capturing outrageous beauty left and right with my Nikon D7000 blissfully married to my Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D AF prime glass. Don't be jeal.

And then there was the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f:3.5-5.6G ED VR II zoom. We're done here.

Dying Is A Day Worth Living For

I am a taphophile

Word. Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Great things are happening at

Find A Grave

If you don't believe me, click the pics.

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Dying is a wild night

and a new road.

Emily Dickinson

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REMEMBRANCE

When I am gone

Please remember me

 As a heartfelt laugh,

 As a tenderness.

 Hold fast to the image of me

When my soul was on fire,

The light of love shining

Through my eyes.

Remember me when I was singing

And seemed to know my way.

Remember always

When we were together

And time stood still.

Remember most not what I did,

Or who I was;

Oh please remember me

For what I always desired to be:

A smile on the face of God.

David Robert Brooks
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 Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.

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Keep To The Code

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You Want To Find This
The Promise Of Redemption

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I BELIEVED, AND THEREFORE HAVE I SPOKEN; we also believe, and therefore speak;

Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4

Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it, have never known it again.

~ Ronald Reagan

Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Not Without My Effects

My Compass Works Fine

The Courage Of Our Hearts

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Daft Like Jack

 "I can name fingers and point names ..."

And We'll Sing It All The Time
  • Elements Series: Fire
    Elements Series: Fire
    by Peter Kater
  • Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    by Danny Wright
  • Grace
    Grace
    Old World Records
  • The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    Stone Angel Music, Inc.
  • Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Real Music
  • Copia
    Copia
    Temporary Residence Ltd.
  • The Poet: Romances for Cello
    The Poet: Romances for Cello
    Spring Hill Music
  • Nightfall
    Nightfall
    Narada Productions, Inc.
  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    RCA
  • The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    by William Voegeli
  • The Art of Memoir
    The Art of Memoir
    by Mary Karr
  • The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    by Emily Dickinson
  • Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    by John W. Harper
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    by William Zinsser
  • Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    by Steven Milloy
  • The Amateur
    The Amateur
    by Edward Klein
  • Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    by Matt Barber, Paul Hair
  • In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
  • Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    by Tod Benoit
  • Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    by Candace Savage
  • Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    by John Marzluff Ph.D., Tony Angell
  • Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    by Andrew Breitbart
  • 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    by Paul Kengor
  • Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    by Bernd Heinrich
  • Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    by Matthew Rolston
  • Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    by Todd Harra, Ken McKenzie
  • America's Steadfast Dream
    America's Steadfast Dream
    by E. Merrill Root
  • Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    by Alexandra Day
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    by Lynne Truss
  • The American Way of Death Revisited
    The American Way of Death Revisited
    by Jessica Mitford
  • In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    Master Books
  • Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    by Peter Schweizer
  • Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    by Brannon Howse
  • Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    by Eleanor Alexander
Easy On The Goods
  • Waiting for
    Waiting for "Superman"
    starring Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee
  • The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    starring Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald, Rod Taylor
  • Bernie
    Bernie
    starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
  • Remember the Night
    Remember the Night
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Sterling Holloway
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
    The Ox-Bow Incident
    starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn, William Eythe
  • The Bad Seed
    The Bad Seed
    starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden
  • Shadow of a Doubt
    Shadow of a Doubt
    starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers
  • The More The Merrier
    The More The Merrier
    starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Bruce Bennett, Ann Savage
  • Act of Valor
    Act of Valor
    starring Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano
  • Deep Water
    Deep Water
    starring Tilda Swinton, Donald Crowhurst, Jean Badin, Clare Crowhurst, Simon Crowhurst
  • Sunset Boulevard
    Sunset Boulevard
    starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark
  • Penny Serenade
    Penny Serenade
    starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Edgar Buchanan, Beulah Bondi
  • Double Indemnity
    Double Indemnity
    starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather
  • Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    starring Gary Anthony Williams
  • Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Passion River
  • It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
  • Stella Dallas
    Stella Dallas
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil, Alan Hale
  • The Iron Lady
    The Iron Lady
    starring Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Harry Lloyd, Anthony Head, Alexandra Roach
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    starring Peter Sallis, Anne Reid, Sally Lindsay, Melissa Collier, Sarah Laborde
  • The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    starring Red Balloon
  • Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
  • The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    starring Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
  • My Dog Skip
    My Dog Skip
    starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, Kevin Bacon
  • Sabrina
    Sabrina
    starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden, John Williams
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee, Ray Collins
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport
  • Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, John Loder
  • The Trip To Bountiful
    The Trip To Bountiful
  • Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
    Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
That Dog Is Never Going To Move

~ RIP JAVIER ~

1999-2016

Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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Monday
Mar312008

Skate Of Grace

All my life I have been a klutz. I am decidedly unathletic, dreadfully uncoordinated, and haven't much in the way of rhythm. Even in my (much) younger years, I could never get the hang of any kind of dancing; I looked utterly ridiculous in the attempt. I'm completely comical when running. I don't even walk very well! I am prone to stumbling and falling and have the scars on my legs to prove it. When I was a kid, my poor mother had to patch me up about once a week.

Giant speakers hugged the corners high in the shadowy, cobwebby ceiling of the gymnasium-sized rink. The sound they emitted was rich and echo-ey, turning the familiar '50s and '60s pop songs into reverberating mini-life experiences.

There was the time I hit the gravel while flying down the road on my bike. Mama was obliged to excavate dirt and rocks out of my shredded knees while I screamed. The time I tripped going up some concrete steps and bifurcated my chin. The time I got my bony foot caught in the spokes of a friend's bicycle as I bummed a ride. The mangling mishaps have continued into adulthood: I fell once in the mid '90s while stepping up onto our patio and skinned my shins so badly, I had to wear bandages for ten days. I fell clumsily down a few stairs only week before last!

I could go on and on but I'm pretty sure you get the unattractive picture.

But there was one thing that, inexplicably, for a brief shining moment I did rather well ... or at least semi-competently: roller skate. Besides reading, riding trying to stay upright on my bike, going to the beach, and attending the drive-in movies with my folks, this was my primary leisure activity between the years 1969 and 1971. A small window, I know ... but believe me, I packed lots of skating into those two years.

Our family lived in Oakland Park, a bedroom community of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I was about 11 years old when I discovered roller skating although I have no memory of the first time I skated. I think my sister and I had received our skates for Christmas ... the white boots gleaming pristinely, stiff laces begging to tighten the leather around my birdlegs, the stubby rubber "brake" that looked like a giant pencil eraser at the toe. My sister and I would tie our clunky skates together by the strings, sling them over our shoulders, and set out after supper bound for the roller rink on Dixie Highway in Oakland Park, down by the new K-Mart, about a half-mile from our house.

We favored going on "Ladies Night" (Tuesday, if memory serves) because due to the fact that we were ladies, we'd get in free. This was convenient on account of we rarely if ever had extra money. I can still smell the roller rink: upon opening the heavy door your olfactory senses were flooded with a wonderfully inviting (and exciting) olio of old wood and linoleum, floor wax, popcorn, hotdogs, cotton candy, peanuts, leather, rubber, sweat, and pure glee. It was like a carnival, only better.

And then there was the music (for me, the magic). Giant speakers hugged the corners high in the shadowy, cobwebby ceiling of the gymnasium-sized rink. The sound they emitted was rich and echo-ey, turning the familiar '50s and '60s pop songs into reverberating mini-life experiences. You'd lace on your wheeled footwear, hastily stow your boring old tennis shoes in your rented locker, and clamber to an opening in the railing where you could enter the stream of skaters forming a multicolored gliding oval of humanity on the smooth polished floor.

Your legs began thinking for you, getting used to the weight of the skates as you gently pushed out right, left, right, left, and immediately whatever song was playing vibrated directly into your solar plexus and you were one with the masses of swirling kids, the muted pastel lighting, the strident voice of the deejay between songs, the low whir of rubber wheels. By the time you reached the short part of the oval and, timidly at first, then with more confidence, crossed one leg over and leaned in to gently make the turn, you felt the exhilaration so keenly that it was just like flying. It was so free, so perfect, so effortless, so young!

I always listened for one song that will forever mean "Jenny at the tail end of childhood on Ladies Night at the skating rink in Oakland Park" to me: My Special Angel by The Vogues. I was never disappointed.

You are my special angel/Sent from up above/The Lord smiled down on me/And sent an angel to love/You are my special angel/Right from paradise/I know that you're an angel/Heaven is in your eyes/A smile from your lips/Brings the summer sunshine/The tears from your eyes/Bring the rain/I feel your touch/Your warm embrace/And I'm in Heaven again/You are my special angel/Through eternity/I'll have my special angel/Here to watch over me.

For some reason that garishly over-produced, saxophone-drenched song embodied all the romance I had ever imagined to exist in the world, and when it played, I sang along and it was me and I was it, and I was no longer a clumsy, gangly pre-teen girl with a family situation that was tragic at worst and strange at best. I was a swan gliding on a placid lake at sunset, a ballerina executing a flawless quatriPme for an awed audience, a chanteuse phrasing a lyric with tender pathos. Best of all, for those few delirious hours before the clock on the wall made me exit the looping rolling throng, reclaim my shabby tennis shoes and get home on time or get in trouble, something became possible that never happened outside that rink: I enjoyed a skate of grace.

Friday
Mar282008

Of Hearts And Wings

I don't say this to procure sympathy, y'all, but if you have a smidge you're not using and are inclined to send it to me I will certainly answer the door and sign for it. Please remember to throw in some (dark) chocolate. It's just that I have been working pretty hard for the last week. It was like being held hostage by circumstances. You know ... the ones that kept me from going to Indiana to see Johnny.

How earnest the craving to accomplish something meaningful before your expiration date.

Enough! Never complain; never explain ... my non-mantra. (And I'll find Johnny when I go to Chicago in June. Ain't no mountain high enough ...)

But on a much-needed break from transcribing a few days ago I sat outside by the pool, savoring a half-cup of reheated coffee, watching and listening. In the slanting light of the cool spring afternoon a saucy squirrel stopped chasing a friend long enough to prostrate himself on a truncated, sun-soaked branch high in a towering conifer, his vivacious throaty chirps mingling with those of his compadres higher in his tree as well as in neighboring pines. Their late-day badinage was punctuated by the tweets and calls of an equally energetic avian citizenry. I lazed quietly on the swing and thought about many things: the perfunctory nature of life, the healing grace of God, the sad reality of loss, and the amazing power of dreams. And all the work I had left to do.

As I stalled, unwilling to go inside, tuning in to various genres of birdsong (nature's iPod), I was reminded of a long-ago mini tragedy. It involved our third and baby daughter, Erica (who in five weeks will be a college graduate) and, as it happens, a bird (therein lies the tragedy). Erica was about three when one day the kids were playing in the living room of our house in Schererville, Indiana. I was nearby in the kitchen when I heard a loud thunk. Hastening around the corner, I arrived in time to see a good-sized bird fluttering to the ground in front of our picture window. He had flown into the glass and experienced an unplanned detour.

We hustled outside and I crawled around some shrubbery to take a look. He lay on his back, eyes glazed, toes curled, wings askew, in shock but still alive. In spite of my better judgment I decided to "rescue" him. I don't really remember how we went about it but ultimately he lay cozily in Andrew's playpen (minus Andrew and his toys) in the living room, warm under his makeshift blanket, attempting to recover. A buffet of a few breadcrumbs and water was available in case he should revive and crave a snack. Stephanie and Audrey functioned as nurse assistants but the most wide-eyed and helpless aide was Erica. She was just old enough to understand but not old enough to contribute.

It took the bird several hours to die. He did it quietly, all on his own; we were spared the agonizing decision of whether to remove him from life support. I guess there was a shoebox funeral but honestly I don't remember. I had four small children! It is a wonder I'm coherent today.

That night TG and I put the kids to bed as usual and were ourselves asleep when, somewhere in the small hours, I heard sniffling. I went looking for the broken heart. Turned out it belonged to Erica, pale and trembling, green eyes brimming, cheeks sticky with tears. I asked her what was wrong. "I -- I -- I wanted to keep that bird," she explained in a tragic voice, sobbing. I added my sundered heart to the heap and knelt in front of her. "Oh baby," I said. "Don't cry. If you can hold on till the morning, Mama will buy you another bird."

What a parent will say in the middle of the night in order to get a kid to go back to sleep.

But it worked, and I did buy her a parakeet the next day, which "pet" she eventually allowed to die of starvation and/or hypothermia. That's a whole 'nother budgie blog, y'all. (Don't bother calling PeTA ... I'm pretty sure his demise was inevitable and either way the statute has run on that one.)

How short is life ... how glorious its possibilities ... how extreme its desires and how rude its awakenings. How decisive its true-ups and its letdowns. How brief the time to shine, to fly in the open air with the sun on your face. How happy the moments when all seems lost but a viable solution is found. How earnest the craving to accomplish something meaningful before your expiration date. How deep the need for someone and something to truly cherish.

Like the beak of a tiny wren, life is indeed fragile but just as strong as it needs to be ... and perfectly designed for its intended use. Like perfect art, form follows function and vice versa. Eat enough to stay alive but swallow quickly so you can keep on singing to the end.

And never forget: someone is watching and someone is listening. Someone stands by to offer comfort in the death hour. Someone will miss you when you're gone.  Someone somewhere is loving you.

Friday
Mar282008

And Bright Stars

Wednesday
Mar262008

There's More Than Corn In Indiana

Hoosier favorite movie star?

As anyone who has known me for more than ninety seconds is likely to be acutely aware, I have an irrational weakness for actor Johnny Depp. TG does not mind this as he is a Johnny fan too. I will thank you not to snicker! But seriously, here lately I've been keeping a sharp eye on the hubbub in the Midwest as Johnny has been rattling around in Illinois (my beloved Chicago!), Wisconsin, and Indiana since early March. In the rust belt for the filming of his latest movie, Public Enemies, based on Bryan Burrough's bestseller Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34, Johnny is portraying the folk-hero outlaw bank robber John Dillinger (1903-1934).

Think about it. If John Dillinger had been as pretty as Johnny Depp, a gun would have been superfluous really.

Time called the source material "ludicrously entertaining." I don't know about that as I haven't read the book yet, but what I consider ludicrous is the idea of John Christopher Depp, II, that certified paragon of pulchritude, undisputed icon of male beauty, playing a Depression-era serial criminal! Pictures have been circulating of the cutie-pie poised insouciantly on the running board of a vintage '30s coupe, dressed in a suit, overcoat, and fedora, brandishing a machine gun and sometimes a pillowcase full of loot. I find this hysterical. And of course I can't stop looking.

Think about it. If John Dillinger had been as pretty as Johnny Depp, a gun would have been superfluous really. For one thing, the first time he showed his face in town (pick a town ... any town) the female population of said burg would have dropped everything -- babies, groceries, dentures, tills -- and followed him around en masse like zombies. A bloodless coup, as it were. The girls would surely have protected him from all who would detain him, much less do him harm, up to and including the most zealous representatives of state and federal law enforcement agencies.

In this case Melvin Purvis and all his G-men would have been no match for the XX chromosome.

So once again Hollywood -- predictably -- opts for box office magic in lieu of more realistic type casting. Alert the media! I ran this observation by TG tonight. "Don't you think Johnny's too handsome to play John Dillinger?" I inquired. "Yeah," he replied. "You need a Humphrey Bogart type for that." Not my Johnny by a long shot, y'all. Bogie had a certain je ne sais quoi to be sure, but Johnny has both je ne sais quoi AND those cheekbones AND those eyes AND ... never mind. I think all John Dillinger had was a lot of nerve and nothing to lose except his own thieving homicidal hide.

Be that as it may, the cameras are rolling and to my great dismay (because he's there and I'm here on account of I have deadlines ... don't worry; it's not contagious), today Johnny was filming at the old jail in Crown Point, Indiana, that Dillinger grandiosely broke out of (using a fake gun to incarcerate the warden and more than a dozen officers in the process, then driving away in the sheriff's car) in 1934.

See, from 1974 until 1991 I lived in and around Crown Point. TG and I met and fell in love in Northwest Indiana and lived in "the region" for the first twelve years of our marriage. All four of our children were born there. It's not exactly Palm Beach but it has its charms. For one thing, if you like soot-blackened snow and bitter cold you'll love it there. For another, it's a stone's throw from the Illinois state line and with a fast getaway car you can be in downtown Chicago inside of forty minutes. LOTS to do in Chicago, y'all. TG and I want to retire there; one can only take so many of these South Carolina "winters."

When TG and I lived in Schererville, a scant ten miles from Crown Point, the old jail housed a restaurant named, appropriately, Dillinger's. We ate there a few times; they had great burgers and I was all about the exposed brick and '30s ambience. The courthouse, just a few steps away, had scads of adorable shops where I've whiled away many a contented afternoon. When each of our kids needed their first pair of hard-soled shoes I headed for the Hub Bootery on Main Street, where they sold Stride Rite and took the time to measure the tiny feet properly. My best friend Sara lived in Crown Point and we often met on the square for lunch.

So I figure Johnny's bound to have walked over some of my residual DNA in the streets of Crown Point by now ... a strand of hair, maybe, or a skin cell ... please don't tell me that's impossible! I'm sure if I had been able to go I would've distracted him from the job he has to do. I mean, try to imagine John Dillinger audaciously escaping from jail with a prostrate grandmother attached to his ankle ... it just wouldn't fit the story line. Even Bogie couldn't carry that off.

Sunday
Mar232008

Human.  History.

First let me say: wish you could have seen my Easter millinery! It was a Betmar black straw cloche with a big rosette and bow in front ... stunning if I do say so ... bought at a discount outlet for a price so outrageously low you wouldn't believe it so I won't tell you what it was! I dress up every Sunday for church and I often wear hats, but on Easter it's fun to really crank up the sartorial drama and sort of revel in the gorgeous spring day and all the beautiful music celebrating the awe-inspiring fact of Christ's resurrection. Adding to the overall giddiness this Easter was the presence of our daughters Audrey and Erica, who were home for the weekend.

TG: Who was the big General during the war? James: You mean the Supreme Commander?

On the way to church we stopped to pick up a young man named James, age 11. James's mother has been very sick and had to stay home today, but James wanted to attend services so we gave him a ride. Sitting in the back seat between Audrey and Erica, James quickly impressed us all with his near-encyclopedic knowledge of American history, specifically the World Wars. We learned of James's academic prowess when, by way of being friendly, one of the girls asked him what he likes to study in school. He asserted that while his favorite subject is math, he is enjoying the class's current study of World War II.

To pass the time we began quizzing him, WWII being a frequent topic of conversation in our home as TG is a certified buff in the subject and our kids have always liked history too.

(Extreme kudos to Mrs. Smith, fifth grade teacher at Seven Oaks Elementary School, who clearly is doing a remarkable job with her students in at least one subject.)

TG: So, what was the war about?

James: Hitler made concentration camps and he killed a bunch of people and he invaded Britain and also Russia. And they had to leave because it was so cold in Russia.

TG: That's right.

Females: *speechless*

TG: Who was President of the United States during the war?

James: Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Females: Yayyyy! *clapping*

TG: Who was the big General during the war?

James: You mean the Supreme Commander?

TG: Yes.

James: Eisenhower.

Females: Wow! *clapping*

TG: What did Eisenhower do after the war?

James: Became President!

TG: This kid's sharp.

Females: Yeah.

TG: Who was another big General in Europe during the war?

James: General Patton.

Females: Yesssss! *clapping*

TG: Who was the Pacific Admiral during the war?

James: ummmm ... Nnnn ...

TG: Nimitz.

James: Yeah! I couldn't think of that name.

Audrey: Where in Japan did we drop the bombs to end the war?

James: Tokyo?

Audrey: No ...

James: We haven't gotten to that yet.

Audrey: Oh, well then ...

James: I know a lot about World War I too. Who was the American soldier who killed a whole bunch of Germans?

Us All: Sergeant York. Alvin C. York.

TG: Where was he from?

James: Kentucky?

Me: Tennessee.

James: Oh yeah.

TG: He was a Christian, you know.

James: I know. And he wasn't sure if it was okay to kill people.

TG: But after he studied his Bible and prayed, he knew God wanted him to fight in the war.

TG: What new type of war did we wage in World War I?

James: Trench.

Females: Ahhhh! *clapping*

Audrey: What kind of new weapon did we use in World War I?

James: Gas masks?

TG: Close.

James: Mustard gas?

TG: Mustard gas is right.

Females: Swish.

We're thinking of contacting Alex Trebek and promoting James as a contestant on a kid version of Jeopardy. On second thought, he could probably take on many adults. In a state that ranks 49th out of a possible 50 in terms of the efficiency exhibited by our public schools in the important area of educating children, the depth of James's knowledge was very encouraging. I mean, it's the dismal truth that countless high school seniors about to graduate in this and just about every other state would not be able to answer these questions to the degree of accuracy that James achieved.

And have you ever seen Jay Leno's "Man on the Street" segments? Many Americans do not know the name of our President and Vice President, not to mention their own Senators and Congressmen or the Governor of their state. And don't ask them the dates of the Civil War or the World Wars or any other conflict in which Americans have fought to defend freedom, except maybe the one in which we are presently engaged.

One of my main concerns with education being my beloved English language, as we dropped James off I posed one last question: "Can you spell prestidigitation?"

Bless his heart, he almost got it.