Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Killing Kennedy" by Blll O'Reilly (2013)

I had not planned on reading this book, as I was afraid that I had already prejudged it. But, in the end, the words of the commentator; for that is what Mr. O’Reilly is; will be judged for the partisan ramblings which they have produced. This could have been an insightful book were it not for the agenda of the “authors.” The pity of it is that the 24/7 news cycle generation will take this book as pure fact, without ever delving beneath the surface, which the “commentator” has not even scratched.

Even the subtitle is designed to mislead the reader into thinking that the president lived in an insular fantasy world. In reality though, the “Camelot” myth was not killed when Kennedy was assassinated, as Mr. O’Reilly asserts; it was created by Jackie Kennedy after the president’s murder. She claims that each night before retiring, her husband used to listen to the Broadway cast recording of the show. It’s a small point, but the purpose is apparent. This man will go to any length in order to vilify the President.

Civil Rights legislation was only a way of getting the black vote; the Cuban Missle Crisis was only of importance to the President because the mid-term elections were coming up and his brother was running in Massachusetts. Even the President’s military rank as an Ensign Jg. is incorrectly termed as a Second Lieutenant, which is an Army rank. The PT-109 incident was an example of Kennedy’s recklessness. He should have simply seen the Japanese cruiser in the dark of the night with no radar. Saving his crew was just a way to lay the groundwork for a future in politics, even though at the time his brother Joe was still alive and had political aspirations, which the younger Kennedy did not.

The book drones on and on in this way, with the authors misrepresentations beginning early and continuing throughout the book. While he does get things correct, he spins them in a very clever way to create failures out of successes, and weaknesses of strengths.

Mr. O’Reilly is skilled at saying one thing while meaning quite another. Every good word the “author” has to say about the President is cast in the light of failure. Basically he states that Kennedy was a just a dumb bastard who got himself killed, by way of lifestyle and recklessness, and to some extent that is true. But, the failure of the agencies, and their willingness to do their sworn duties in protecting the President, is frightening. It changed the way in which our government works, with the elected official living in fear of those who are sworn to protect him. In the case of Watergate, some of the same people involved in the Bay of Pigs and the later events in Dallas, blackmailed the President into resigning from office, blocking his policies and changing international discourse.

Most of the “Notes” to which the author credits his sources come from the Internet, rather than established literature on the subject. Personally, I recommend Russ Baker’s “Family of Secrets”, in which the author fully annotates the connections between the Bay of Pigs, the Kennedy Assassination and the Watergate affair. That book cites every source, and even credits each statement, often to the memoirs of the persons making those statements. That book; in my estimation; is the epitome of the way history should be written, by an accredited author, and not a political commentator with a known agenda.

Monday, April 29, 2013

"Moby Dick" with Gregory Peck (1956)

Many people over the years have asked why Moby Dick is an essential part of American literature. I’m always amazed at the question, since the story is not only a biblical analogy of good versus evil in the most classic sense; but also a uniquely American story; written by Herman Melville, one of our nation’s first native born authors of note, and a former sailor to boot.

In addition it is also a thinly disguised political tale which centers about the killing of a white whale. This whale represents the evil of the white race. Indeed that evil, embodied by the whale, had already cost Ahab a portion of his body, just as the coming Civil War would cost the nation a portion of its own. The righteousness of the Abolitionist Movement; when juxtaposed against the evil restrictions of slavery; both resemble the destruction wrought by Moby Dick, as Ahab and his fellow human beings attempt to destroy an evil which they themselves have created.

I’m not the biggest fan of any film version of this classic novel, as nothing could ever live up to the imagery and tension of the book. And, I’m not a snob in that respect. I do believe some books are better presented as movies; not often; but sometimes. A good example would be Hemingway’s “To Have and Have Not”, which sucked in book form, but when re-written for the screen, shone like the sun. But, if you have to watch any version of Moby Dick, then this is the one which I recommend the most.

From the acting to the direction, and the short appearance by Orson Welles as the Preacher, this movie does the novel some justice. Although it appears to have been made cheaply, if you ignore the sets and concentrate on the acting, then you will be quite satisfied with this screen adaptation.

A few of the original monologues have been excised, or altered in some form, but that does not really hurt the overall message which Melville was trying to impart. Basically, good; when taken too far; can become as evil as that which you are trying to destroy; and in the end, you wind up destroying only yourself. That’s heavy stuff, but true. And, by the way, I still don’t know what it is about this book that turns people off. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

"The Ed Sullivan Show" - Live (1961)

Just kick back and watch this complete Ed Sullivan show from 1961. It’s what most families did on a Sunday night back then. Back then Friday nights were for flirting, Saturday nights were for dating, and Sunday nights were for the Ed Sullivan Show. Each week for 3 decades, Mr. Sullivan, a former newspaper columnist, showed that he had his fingers on the entertainment pulse of America. An invitation to perform on his show could make or break an act in the space of just a few minutes.

Usually broadcast live from New York City, this episode is a bit different, as it is live from Las Vegas. In the years ahead Ed Sullivan would also broadcast an occasional show from Miami, as he did when the Beatles made their second US appearance on his show in 1964.

In this show, Ed brings out the usual variety of acts, consisting of comedian Jerry Lewis, some dancers, Phil Harris, and even the standard introduction of a celebrity in the audience. The sun in Vegas must have done him some good, as even in this old black and white tape you can see that the usually pallid Mr. Sullivan has been spending some time by the pool.

Shows like this don’t exist anymore. We all have our little niches of satellite radio and cable TV to filter out the things in which we are not interested. It’s convenient, but it narrows our scope and tolerance for things that may be a bit different from what we like personally, drawing us all a bit further apart in the process. As the old saying goes, “They just don’t make them like they used to.” And we are the less for that loss.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

"Birds In the Spring" - A Silly Symphony Cartoon (1933)

Gather the kids and watch spring unfold in this old Disney cartoon form 1933. The Silly Symphony series of cartoons may not come as near to perfection as the Max and Dave Fleischer cartoons, but they have a charm of their own. Additionally; not being tied to a series of “static” characters, as in the Merrie Melodies or Looney Toons series; these cartoons had a wider range of subjects which they explored vividly.

In this cartoon the little birdies learn to deal with their young lives, while at the same time their elders are trying to teach them the lessons they, themselves, have learned over the years. Mother Nature is in full force as the youngsters learn that all is not as sweet as it may first look; but, with a bit of wisdom, and some luck; things usually work out in the end. This is a great cartoon for little kids like me.

Friday, April 26, 2013

"Telephone Line" by Jeff Lynne with Richard Tandy (Acoustic)

Telephone Line
(Jeff Lynne)

Hello. How are you?
Have you been alright, through all those lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely nights
That's what I'd say. I'd tell you everything
If you'd pick up that telephone yeah yeah yeah

Hey. How you feelin?
Are you still the same?
Don't you realize the things we did, we did, were all for real, not a dream?
I just can't believe
They've all faded out of view yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

Doowop dooby doo doowop doowah doolang
Blue days black nights doowah doolang

I look into the sky, the love you need ain't gonna see you through
And I wonder why the little things you planned ain't coming true

Oh oh Telephone Line, give me some time, I'm living in twilight
Oh oh Telephone Line, give me some time, I'm living in twilight

Ok. So no one's answering
Well can't you just let it ring a little longer longer longer oh oh ooohhhhh
I'll just sit tight through shadows of the night
And let it ring for evermore oh oh ooohhhhh yeah yeah yeah

Doowop dooby doo doowop doowah doolang
Blue days black nights doowah doolang.

George Jones - Who's Gonna Fill Your Shoes?

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Midnight has been hanging around our house for about a year and a half now, with no signs of ever leaving us completely. Sure, he goes “missing” for a day or two from time to time, but he always manages to make his way back to our front porch and his preferred meal of chunk light tuna fish. His dry food bowl is always full, for those times when he arrives “home” at 3 in the morning, reeling from a night of carousing.

But, most importantly, Midnight has become my friend, at a time when real friends have grown increasingly scarce. I live in a kind of insular world; a way, I suppose, of protecting myself from others. Midnight is much the same as I am in this respect. He has few friends, but the ones that are there for him, really are there for him.

I'm highly allergic to cats; just as Midnight is allergic to most human beings; which makes him the "purr"fect pet. (Forgive the pun – Midnight couldn't resist it.) Occasionally he walks into the house, though never venturing further than the front hallway rug. He seems to sense that there is a boundary there. Well, actually he knows better than to come in at all, but every now and again curiosity gets the better of him, and so in he comes. He hasn't heard about curiosity killing the cat and I’m not going to be the one to tell him!

I like his spirit and even his aloof attitude, which he recently displayed toward my wife Sue when he simply turned his back and walked away from her when she was offering him a treat. Sue has still not gotten completely over the snub, and I’m still laughing.

But even deeper than all the social interaction between us is a darker connection; he was abandoned by the human family where he was born. He just appeared suddenly one day; homeless; with no skills to survive in the “world.” Kind of like me when I was about 17 and my parents threw me out. But, just as I did, he has learned to survive, and in some ways even prosper. In that last respect he may already have overtaken me, as I still pay for my own food. But he earns his keep.

Every time he pokes his face up against the little side window on the front door he makes me smile. No matter what is happening at the time, in that brief flicker of a moment, he can make me smile. We're fiends; he cares; and that’s all he ever has to do to make a living here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"Public Apology" by David Bry (2013)

This may be one of the most unusual books I have ever read. Based, as it is, on the premise that we all go through life offending other people, sometimes without knowing it, the author takes the reader on a tour de force of all the misgivings he has stored up in his life. The subtitle of the book is “In Which a Man Grapples with a Lifetime of Regret, One Incident at a Time.”

And that’s a fairly accurate description of this sometimes hilarious, and other times revealing look at not only the authors most embarrassing moments, but also a reminder to us all of the times we have done, or said, stupid things which we wish we could take back.

Beginning with Junior High School, which is where most of us begin to experience these awkward moments, and on through early adulthood, Mr. Bry has a fascinating array of embarrassing moments to draw upon for your entertainment.

Ranging from unintended insults to missed romantic opportunities, and even encompassing some public mooning on a cable car in California, Mr. Bry attempts to apologize to everyone he may have offended; or embarrassed; in his lifetime. Some are named outright, as are the stories of misadventure during his junior high school years, which is where we all make many of our most foolish, but sometimes funny, social faux pas.

From those awkward moments at age 12 come more embarrassing and humorous tales of life in high school; or, as the author puts it; “…when being drunk becomes the excuse for everything, even though it is never a legitimate excuse for anything.” These moments encompass sports, music, girlfriends and alcohol.

The next section is all about Mr. Bry’s adventures in college, which he refers to as “…the six longest years of my life.” During this period he apologizes to roommates, professors, and even his own father who died on an airplane after a family trip.

From school to family and friends, and then on into his adult life, Mr. Bry has been laboring under the weight of a chain of guilt which rivals those heavy links carried by Charles Dickens woeful character Jacob Marley. If you feel at all guilty about anything foolish which you have done in your life, then this is the book for you. If nothing else, reading about the author’s experiences in this regard will make it easier for you to forgive your own. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Carole King - "The Legendary Demos (2012)

When I walk into the library I never know what treasure I will find. Sometimes it’s a book; other times a video; and on some occasions it’s a bit of music which I may have missed out on. The latter is the case with this remarkable collection of “demos” made by Carole King in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s; most of which went on to become monster hit records for other artists and even Ms. King herself.

Some of Ms. King’s best work was done in her earliest years while working New York’s famed “tin pan alley” in its final heyday. The basis for much of her first album was written during this time as well. The album contains not only the demos of Ms. King’s hits from “Tapestry”, but also such hits as “Crying In the Rain” which was big hit for the Everly Brothers.

That song was the only written with Howard Greenfield; who did the lyrics; and Ms. King; who wrote the music. They were both contracted to Aldon Music and decided to switch writing partners for the day. Ms. King usually wrote with Gerry Goffin. As a lark the two songwriting teams decided to switch partners for the afternnoon, with Gerry Goffin working with Greenfield's writing partner Jack Keller; and King and Greenfield pairing up to write this timeless classic.

A full full rock band demo of “Pleasant Valley Sunday”, which was such a smash for the Monkees, opens this remarkable album of hits in their nascent stages.  “Natural Woman” is featured in its original form with just Ms. King on vocals accompanying herself on piano.

Rounding out the album are several of the songs which she made famous herself with the release of her signature album “Tapestry”, and those songs are represented here in their striped down versions. Kind of what we now refer to as “unplugged.” The effect is magical and almost akin to having Ms. King playing in your living room. My favorite on the whole album is the original version of “Take Good Care of My Baby”, the iconic hit for Bobby Vee in 1961 and also was covered, but rejected, by the Beatles in their audition for Decca in 1962. A delightful treat for fans of Ms. King.

Richie Havens - Freedom

No one who remembers Woodstock can ever forget this dynamic performance by Richie Havens doing "Freedom". The song is really composed of 3 songs, "Freedom", a traditional folk song; "Motherless Child", a blues standard; and featuring  "Handsome Johnny," which was co-written with actor Louis Gossett Jr. The Woodstock Era didn't last long - but for those who were there - or even at home - the spirit of those times will always be alive thanks to videos like this. RIP Richie.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Spade Cooley

While watching a “Honeymooners” re-run the other night, Norton mentioned a record by Spade Cooley. I knew the name but have to admit that I wasn’t all that familiar with his work. So, off to you tube I went. Man, was I surprised at the wealth of entertainment, as well as the actual story of Spade and what happened to this man who was at one time giving both Ed Sullivan and all the rest, quite a run for the money in the TV ratings.

Western Swing music has always held a fascination for me. The blending of big band instruments with traditional country music can produce some smooth music, ideal for dancing. Spade Cooley’s band was composed of Spade Cooley, real name Joaquin Murphey Donnell Clyde Cooley, on steel guitar; Tex Williams (no relation to Ted), on vocals; and the rest of the members on everything else.

Cooley was born in Oklahoma in 1910 and began studying classical violin and cello at age 4. By the time he was 8 years old he was performing in public. He eventually made it to Hollywood and served as a stand-in for Roy Rogers in many of his films. He also played with the legendary Riders of the Purple Sage in the late 1940’s, before forming his own band in 1941. Carolina Cotton joined the band as a fiddle player and yodeler a few years after.

His TV career began in 1948 with a show on KTLA which ran for 11 years, and even affected the ratings of other shows airing opposite his, including Ed Sullivan’s. The Spade Cooley Show ended in 1959, shortly after he was charged with the death of his wife, Ella Mae. They had been arguing since 1952, when she claimed to have an affair with Roy Rogers. That was never proven to be true.

By 1958 she apparently wanted a divorce so badly that she told him she was a member in a “sex club” as a way to get him to dissolve their marriage. Infuriated, he struck her in the chest with such force that he ruptured her aorta, causing her death. In 1961 he was sentenced to life for the crime. No proof of her claim of alleged infidelity has ever surfaced.

His trial was unusual in that he was so remorseful that he refused to even testify on his own behalf, accepting his life sentence without an appeal. In August of 1969 he was scheduled for release on parole in February of 1970. That same month he performed a concert for the Alameda County Sheriffs Association. 

In front of 3,000 lawmen he gave one of the finest performances of his career. After leaving the stage he collapsed and died, never living to be paroled. His body was returned to the prison, where it was cremated. Today he is interred at Chapel of the Chimes Cemetery in Hayward, California.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

"Hysterical High Spots in American History" from Walter Lantz (1941)

Walter Lantz is most noted for his Woody Woodpecker cartoons, but he had a life in animation before the advent of the noisy little bird we all came to love. This Technicolor cartoon from 1941 should give you a good idea of what Mr. Lantz was doing prior to the birth of Woody.

Beginning with Columbus’ voyage to the New World, Mr. Lantz takes the viewer on a tour de force through America’s most colorful moments. From Columbus and all the way through the American Revolution; which began today at Lexington-Concord in Massachusetts; on through the stock market crash of the late 1920’s and the Great Depression, this cartoon leaves nothing out.

The First Thanksgiving is covered in a humorous fashion, with everyone shaking hands and saying “Thank you” to one another. The Minutemen are here, as is Lincoln at Gettysburg. The Gold Rush in California, the New Deal, and even the rumblings of the Second World War, along with the first peacetime conscription of  the Armed Forces, are all covered as well.  

Today is the anniversary of the events that brought us freedom, and in spite of the events in Boston; the “Cradle of Liberty”; this past week, Americans will persevere and move on with their lives, always remembering the fallen that did not make it. And, along with that, we will keep our senses; all of them; even our sense of humor. And that, in itself, is a victory.

Friday, April 19, 2013

"God's Gonna Cut You Down" - Johnny Cash (2006)

This is for the person, or persons, responsible for the carnage in Boston last week. Johnny Cash, who was an anti-war activist during Vietnam, expresses his outrage here over those who work so hard to make our existence in this life a hell on earth. Sometimes, a little fire and brimstone is appropriate.

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God'll cut you down
Sooner or later God'll cut you down

Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down
Tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down

Well my goodness gracious let me tell you the news
My head's been wet with the midnight dew
I've been down on bended knee
talkin' to the man from Galilee

He spoke to me in the voice so sweet
I thought I heard the shuffle of the angel's feet
He called my name and my heart stood still
When he said, "John go do My will!"

Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down
Tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God'll cut you down
Sooner or later God'll cut you down

Well you may throw your rock and hide your hand
Workin' in the dark against your fellow man
But as sure as God made black and white
What's done in the dark will be brought to the light

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God'll cut you down
Sooner or later God'll cut you down

Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell 'em that God's gonna cut you down
Tell 'em that God's gonna cut you down
Tell 'em that God's gonna cut you down.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Metamucil and Me

A few weeks ago I had a routine colonoscopy and it about killed me. Last Saturday I took my first dose of Metamucil, a common over the counter supplement, on the advice of a specialist, with the same results. Once again, being treated by a specialist can be very risky if you suffer from a disorder which that specialist may be unfamiliar with. In essence, in these cases, you MUST be somewhat of your own doctor. This is not a short-coming on the part of the physicians; as they are treating so many people; but it is a responsibility of you, as the patient, to be somewhat aware of any special conditions which may affect your treatment in an adverse way. And, if that specialist seems unwilling to listen, then you need to seek treatment elsewhere.

A simple skin test, or a blood test, can determine whether or not this over the counter supplement is right for you or not. For millions of people it is perfectly suited, brining positive results. But, for the patient who may in some way be compromised in relation to their immune systems, this can be a very dangerous supplement; and in the case of myself; can even be life threatening, as I found out last weekend while out for the day with my long suffering (from being married to me) wife, Sue.

Metamucil works in much the same way as the prep containing PEG 3350 does for a colonoscopy, only less dramatic, but it has the addition of psyllium, which can be a real challenge to patients with COPD, as I am, and even for people with conditions as common as asthma. Again, although you would think that the doctor should ask you about any conditions which might be a problem, the specialist does not know you as well as your GP. For that reason I usually run everything by my doctor before using it. But in the case of this harmless looking supplement, I simply followed his advice.

There seems to be no acceptable alternative for either the preparation for the colonoscopy, or the accepted control of the bowels by use of Metamucil. Baby boomers beware; if you have any allergies at all; be sure to consult with your General Practitioner before following all of the advice of your “specialist”. After all, your GP knows you; and your medical history; better than a “specialist”, who is really just a stranger to your body and its particular quirks.

For more on this subject, here is a link to get you started;

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Movin' On Up" Performed by Hitler and Friends

There was a video of Hitler strutting his stuff to Merv Griffin’s “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” on you tube which I was hoping to re-post, but it has been removed due to copyright issues. It’s too bad, because it was really well done. I was thinking about the video while watching the news and the latest rumblings from North Korea. Don’t take me wrong, the situation is not a good one, and whenever things get too far down on the scale of life I always turn to humor as a source of relief. And that’s what brought that video to mind.

I did find, in its stead, this little gem of Hitler set to music; in this case “Movin’ on Up” from the sitcom “The Jeffersons.” Now, before you object too strenuously, let me tell you why I find these types of videos to be so funny. You see, they take the demagogue and show him up for what he really is; a buffoon. Not a larger than life dictator, but a fool. Just as in Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator”, or the Three Stooges in “You Natsy Spy”, these films help to undercut the fear engendered by such fanatics. No one is powerful enough to stop laughter.

The best example I can give of this line of reasoning comes from a concentration camp survivor named Robert Clary, who played Corporal Le Beau on “Hogan’s Heroes”, and was a prisoner from 1942 in Ottmuth and then transferred to Buchenwald where he was freed on April 11, 1945 at the age of 19. The other 12 members of his family all perished there. He was asked if he thought there was something wrong with his participation in a show that made the Nazi’s look like fools. His reply was that in the camps there was only laughter to sustain one’s strength. To lose that spirit would have meant giving up, and then dying. That explanation, from someone who was there, and lost so much, has always held weight with me. 
Tommy Tucker - Fascist on the Rise

“I am the Senator. You are the citizen. You need to be quiet.” 
  Senator Tommy Tucker (Waxhaw)

This is the face; and those are the words; of Fascism. The man looks quite ordinary, and that’s where the danger lies. Think about Charles Manson; he looked nuts, so he didn't scare me. But his “disciples”, who all looked like ordinary people were the ones who carried out his orders; hence they are the scarier of the two groups.

North Carolina is in the midst of a sea change in politics. With a Republican held state government anything is possible. Just 2 weeks ago the State Legislature tried to fast track a resolution which would have established a State Religion. Naturally, I was not included in that group, which would have marginalized my rights as a citizen to worship as I please without fear. It did not even make it to a vote because people, like me and you, stood up against it.

This week we see the emergence of State Senator Tommy Tucker of Waxhaw pushing a bill on a fast track which will allow the state government, and small towns, to act in what amounts to secrecy in changing things like zoning laws and the placements of waste-water treatment facilities without the requisite placement of Public Notice in the local newspapers which are read almost 60 times as much as the notices posted on government websites, which is where the notices will go if the Senate Bill 287  passes today.

I called Mr. Tucker’s office at 919-733-7659 this morning and was treated with the utmost rudeness by a man who would not give his name, did not know that the Senator had said the words quoted above, and had never heard of the bill. When I tried to explain the meaning of the bill to him he became agitated and rude, talking over anything I had to say. Then, to cap it off, he claimed to know about the bill but refused to discuss it. Such arrogance has never come my way before.

Tommy Tucker works for the people. He is an employee. When he tells a reporter to shut up, he is talking to you. As his employer, we call upon the people of Waxhaw to fire this misguided would be dictator in the next election. And then, tell him to be quiet.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"The Hour of Peril" by Daniel Stashower (2013)

The plot to assassinate President-elect Lincoln has always been a source of fascination for me. When I was living in Baltimore, some 30 odd years ago studying for a Coast Guard License, I used to stand opposite the Calvert Street Station and contemplate what would have been if the plot to kill Lincoln had been successful. And, standing on the very spot in the station where Lincoln had once trod held another appeal all of its own. So, naturally, I was eager to pick this book off the shelf at the library where it was presumably waiting just for me. And, what a treat it was to read!

Author Daniel Stashower has taken the oft told story of the attempted assassination of Lincoln en route to Washington and turned it into an all-encompassing saga of such diverse topics as; Scottish immigration, the westward expansion of the United States as a nation, the Abolitionist Movement, Allan Pinkerton’s rise from humble beginnings to his world-wide fame as a premier Private Investigator, his part in the Underground Railroad, his friendship with John Brown, and of course the founding of the Secret Service.

Along the way he introduces the reader to Eugene Vidocq, the former criminal turned law enforcement agent who founded the French Surete, and pioneered the plaster casting of footprints and established one of the earliest criminal data bases of the era. He was the actual inspiration for Victor Hugo’s character Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables.” Even the Lincoln-Douglas Debates are not ignored here, nor their implications concerning the inevitable coming of a Civil War. Oh, and did I mention that this is a book about Abraham Lincoln’s First Inauguration?

In a sweeping style, and drawing upon all sources, the author has penned what could very well become the basis for a movie about Allan Pinkerton. If Steven Spielberg were to undertake this as a companion piece to his current blockbuster “Lincoln”, he could not miss. 

As a member of the Scottish Chartist group; who were early champions of the working class and later tied to Marx and Engels; Pinkerton was also a natural  champion of Abolition. His work with John Brown put him in direct violation of both state and federal laws, but still he persevered . His attitude was expressed in the oft quoted “The ends justify the means, if the ends are for the accomplishment of Justice.”

When the author does get around to the journey by rail from Illinois to Chicago, by circuitous fashion, passing through all the stops on the way to New York, and from there on to Washington, D.C.; including a very dangerous change of stations at Baltimore where the President-elects life was in imminent danger; the narrative actually gets even better, if that is imaginable. 

The smoke filled cars come to life as the train hurtles toward the destiny which will ultimately; some 4 years later; culminate in the President’s death by an assassin’s bullet. That in itself is almost ironic; that he should live through the earlier attempt upon his life, only to die in the same way after holding the country together during a vicious Civil War; seems almost as if history had done with him; and having done so, cast him aside.

This book also explores the role that the railroads were beginning to play in the way Americans lived, worked and even engaged in politics. Filled with rogues, knaves and the world's first female detective, there is something for everyone in this book. It is still early in the year; and the book is just recently out; but I would suggest that if you only read one or two books this year, skipping this one would be a real loss.

Monday, April 15, 2013

"Everyone's Dying" by Robert Williams (1969)

This poem was written on April 15th, 1969 when I was 14 and a half years old. It got me called into the school counselor's office because it was not the first time I had written about death at such a young age. The first time I was called out for my choice of subject matter was in 1965, when I was 11 years old in 5th grade. I picked it at random from a pile of things which I keep in a drawer while looking for something to post for the 15th. Since it was such a coincidence, I thought I'd run it, if only for that purpose alone.

I had written a poem called "Jenkin's Grave" as a writing assignment in Mrs. Denslow's class in 5th grade, and she actually phoned my parents to discuss whether or not there was a problem at home. There was; as my mother was ill from the time I was about 6, until she passed away when I was 30.

So, death was always lurking about somewhere close by in my thoughts. Naturally, these thoughts found their way into my writing and have probably colored my feelings, and thoughts, for my entire life. And now, as I am getting older; past the age of my mother's death; I find myself looking at these poems more closely, as if to detect some meaning within them; a clue perhaps; of how I came to be who I am. 

Well, for better, or worse, here is that poem from 1969. It still resonates with me, and I still wonder about the eternity that faces us all; though I'd rather hang out for a few more years before I find out that answer!

An old man lay’s dying,
He’s passing away.
What does he think of
On his bed as he lay?

“I think of young ladies
Who were once young and free;
And of old folk, once young folk;
now passing with me.”

An old woman’s crying,
She’s passing away.
What does she think of 
in her final days?

“I think of the young men
I had way back when;
And of old folk, once young folk;
I won’t see again.”

A young boy is playing,
He screams and he shouts;
What does he think of
When at night, lights are out?

“I think of my father,
and how it must be.
To be older and wiser,
with a kid just like me.”

A tycoon is working
And working some more.
What does he think of,
As he does all those chores?

“I think of dead folk
And how glad they must be,
To get away from it all
And be so damn free!

I see people laughing
And larking about.
They’re right to be happy,
For time soon runs out!”

April 15th, 1969  Cunningham Junior High School 9th Grade

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Titanic - A Timeless Tragedy - Repost

This poster was my first encounter with the Titanic. It was in 1958 and my parents took me to see the film. I was awestruck at the luxury of the ship and the wealth of the travelers aboard her. It was, I believe, the start of my lifelong love affair with ships and all things nautical.
Today marks the 98th anniversary of the sinking of that great ship. The Titanic went down on a cold, moonless night in the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg. The belief that she was "unsinkable" did her no good. And with lifeboats for less than half of the passengers aboard, the loss of life was tremendous.

At 4 years old I was already familiar with the ocean, having been born less than a mile from the Atlantic Coast in Brooklyn, New York. The fact that the Titanic's survivors had been taken to New York aboard the Carpathia only made those waters more holy to me. I would stare out to sea at night, trying to decipher the meanings of those red and green lights called "bouys" and wonder what lay beyond. Eventually I would find out.

The Titanic was one of those grand affairs conceived at the end of the 19th Century and built in the early years of the 20th Century. It was built with the notion that we were now the Masters of our fates. There was no undertaking that man could not achieve. There was a belief that there was no element which we, as human beings, could not conquer.

Sailing from Southampton on her maiden voyage, she left on April 10th, 1912 for New York City with 2,207 passengers aboard. The ship would never arrive and only 700 or so passengers ever made it to their destination.

I remember watching the film and the scene in which the water comes up the ladderways from the mailroom still leaves an impression upon me. My parents made a lesson of that film, instilling in me that nothing is ever a sure thing. There are forces that are constantly working against us. False pride, greed, visions of grandeur are always lurking and waiting to take us down, just as they did the Titanic.

Through the years, much has been written; and filmed; about this fabled ship and her untimely demise. Some of the stuff is quite informative and lends an even deeper meaning to the tragedy of that cold and fateful night. Some are fictitious versions of the event. It took me almost 10 years before I would even see Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in "Titanic." It seemed so silly to attempt a dramatization of such a powerful and true event.

The stories of the sacrifices made that night are legendary, but well documented. This book, "A Night To Remember" by Walter Lord was first published in 1955. Most of the survivors were still alive and Mr. Lord interviewed them all in preparation for the book. This paperback copy was a gift from my parents when I was 11 years old. As you can see, I still have it. Inside are news clippings from over the years, each one documenting the death of yet another survivor. Morbid; perhaps; but my fascination with this event has shaped a good portion of my life.

The sinking of the Titanic marked the first use of the new wireless distress code "SOS." Ships as far away as Cape Race heard the call. Some attempted to assist in the rescue - others, such as the California, less than 10 miles away, merely watched her sink. The rockets, flares and wireless messages all went unheeded. Only the Carpathia made it, although she arrived after the Titanic had sunk. Plucking the remaining survivors from the water, she raced back to New York. From there the crew was taken to a hearing in Washington D.C. before the Maritime Safety Committee. A separate inquiry was later conducted upon the crews return to England.

As a result of these hearings changes in safety regulations were made; all ships would henceforth carry twice the number of lifeboats needed. This is necessary because when a ship lists too far to port or starboard, half of the boats are incapable of being launched. The number of lifebelts required was increased. Ice warnings became the normal procedure, rather than the exception. The use of the wireless, and mandatory wireless "watches" were also instituted as a result of the Titanic’s loss.

But of all the stories told from that night, none has stayed with me in the way that the story of Mr. and Mrs. Isidor Straus has. They had risen from the ashes of the Confederacy to found a small China business in Philadelphia. From there they went on to make Macy's the world's largest department store.When she was told by her husband to get in the lifeboat along with the other women and children she answered, "We have been living together many years. Where you go, I go." When Hugh Woolner tried to persuade the aging Mr. Straus to get in the boat with Mrs. Straus, he replied, " I will not go before the other men." They were last seen lounging side by side in deck chairs, confusion reigning all about them as they sat, calmly awaiting their fate.

So many stories abound from that night. For the best insight into this remarkable tragedy I can suggest no other source which is better than Mr. Lords' two books on the Titanic. The first is "A Night to Remember", which was filmed twice, the British version being the best. And his follow up "The Night Lives On", published in 1986.

This is Molly Brown, aka the "Unsinkable Molly Brown." A would be socialite from Colorado; she had been snubbed by all the women in her community. She was returning from Europe aboard the Titanic as a way to gain acceptance in the social circles of Denver. In the lifeboat when some of the inexperienced crew members were failing to do their duty, Mrs. Brown rose to the occasion and took command of the boat. When she returned to Denver she snubbed all the "fair weather" friends who now clamored for her company.

An interesting note on the collision is that the sinking was avoidable. Had the ship simply continued on course, rather than making that fateful turn to port in a futile effort to avoid the iceberg, the damage would've been limited to the bow section and the pumps would have controlled the flooding. She would have arrived late, but with all passengers and crew safe.

The other interesting note to this story is the fate of the Carpathia, which had rescued the survivors. At the outbreak of World War One she was pressed into service as a troop ship. She was torpedoed in 1918 enroute from England to Boston. An ignominious end to such an important piece of maritime history, but, such are the ways of the sea...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

"Houston, We've Got a Problem."

These are the worst words you can hear from the commander of a space capsule. More importantly, these are the worst words that commander will ever have to utter. The cold, harsh reality of space takes over at a time like that. You realize, possibly for the first time, that in spite of the team on the ground; essentially; you’re alone. Everybody else gets to go home for dinner, but not you.

Thursday was the anniversary of the launch of Apollo 13. If you, or your children, have never seen one of these blast-offs before- it’s worth watching for that alone. But the real meat of the story is told using clips of both the ground crew, and the astronauts themselves, as they rack their brains for a solution to the problem, which is carefully explained in the video. That problem occurred in the early hours of April 14th when an oxygen tank ruptured.

Ron Howard did an exceptional job with Tom Hanks in chronicling the Apollo 13 flight and it’s near disaster. But nothing can compete with the actual events, as evidenced in this short film from NASA, and available on you tube. Only some duct tape and a ballpoint pen saved the day for the crew. The ground support team worked long and hard to devise the “fix” that would allow the crew of Apollo 13 to return to Earth safely.

For several days the world watched and waited as the Apollo capsule got closer and closer to its scheduled splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.  Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert may not have made it to the Moon as planned, but they achieved something far greater in their victory over technology gone wrong almost 200,000 miles from the nearest repair facility. That they did so with an improvised solution, under such arduous conditions, made the feat all the greater. We had already been to the Moon and back. But this was a real “cliffhanger”, as the whole world watched and waited for their safe return.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fort Sumter - The Outbreak of Civil War

The following was first posted here in 2010. I hope that no-one is bothered by my occasional “re-posts”, but there are new readers who may not have read this before, and of course, I get to have the day “off”.

On April 12, 1861 Confederate batteries opened fire on Fort Sumter, S.C. triggering the American Civil War. The attack came after months of talks and 2 days of demands by the Confederates that the fort be surrendered. When Major Anderson refused, the Rebels attacked. The photograph shown here was taken on April 14th; one day after Major Anderson was forced to evacuate the Garrison.

The battle was not a ferocious one by any standards. It was a bombardment of over 3,000 enemy cannon balls, which severely damaged the fort. There were no actual casualties inflicted by the enemy. One Union artilleryman was killed and two soldiers were injured when their cannon misfired. This was small change in comparison to the carnage that was yet to come.

Although this engagement is often cited as the beginning of hostilities for the Civil War, that is not quite the truth. In December of 1860 South Carolina became the first state to leave the Union. Within 6 days Major Anderson took his men from the badly situated Fort Moultrie and secretly removed them to Fort Sumter. He did so of his own volition and with no authorization from Washington.

By January the Government of South Carolina, as well as Brigadier General Beauregard, were both calling for the fort to be turned over to the Confederacy. On January 9th, 1861 when the Union attempted to resupply Fort Sumter via a shipment aboard the merchant vessel Star of the West, Southern troops opened fire, resulting in the ship turning about without resupplying the fort.

In Washington, President Lincoln was faced with the first serious test of his Presidency and the challenge to his campaign promise that he would keep the Union whole. Fort Sumter had supplies which would hold it until April 15th. By April 6th, with no diplomatic relief in sight, Lincoln dispatched a fleet of ships to resupply and defend the fort. Under the Command of Gustavas Fox, the Cutter Harriet Lane, with the Sloops of War Pawnee and Powhatan, and Steamers Pocahontas and Baltic along with 3 tugs, set sail for Charleston. They would arrive on April 11th at the sand bar which comprises the natural abutment around which Fort Sumter was built.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Re-posts - A Conundrum

This time of April poses a real conundrum for me. With so many things of note in history occurring at this time of April it is almost impossible to keep my mind focused on just one event. Imagine, all in the space of a week, the numerous stories worth telling about some of the most important events in our history.

The onslaught of historical events begins tomorrow with the anniversary of the Civil War, and the shelling of Fort Sumter. Only 4 years later, President Lincoln would be assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on April 14th.

Move forward in time and April 14th would come to represent the Titanic disaster, in which the unsinkable ship did the unthinkable, and sank, taking most of her passengers with her.

And, if these events were not enough, this coming week also marks the “shot heard ‘round the world” with the anniversary of the events at Lexington and Concord, triggering the start of our American Revolutionary War.

So, bear with me while I reprise some of my older posts on these subjects. It would be hard to pass over these events and have new readers here think that I am uninterested in them, and yet I have nothing further I wish to add on the subjects; hence; the re-posts.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"The Rains Came" with Myrna Loy and Tyrone Power (1939)

When an Indian nobleman returns to his homeland after studying medicine in the United States, Rama Safti, played by Tyrone Power, seeks to use his training to make the life of his people better through his education and training. But things are not as easy as they appear to be in the fictional city of Ranchipur, which is undergoing a prolonged drought. The citizens there pray for relief in the form of rain.

Myrna Loy plays the part of Edwina Esketh, a young lady who finds herself stranded in India and quickly becomes the target of the affections of both Major Safti and Tom Ransome, played by George Brent, an aristocratic womanizer. Their friendship is further strained by the flirtatious Fern Simon, played by Brenda Joyce, the daughter of American missionaries.

As these relationships become entangled in a web of lies, deceit and mistrust, the monsoons arrive, along with a devastating earthquake. These events force all of the main characters to re-evaluate their own lives, as well as the society in which they live, bringing the movie to an astonishing conclusion about life, love and all that really matters.

Although there is not much “real” history in this film it is interesting to note that the character of Edwina is supposedly based on Edwina Mountbatten (wife to Lord Mountbatten, a known homo-sexual.) Lady Mountbatten was known to prefer "men of color", just as the character in the film does. In real life, Lady Mountbatten had a long term affair with a Jamaican cabaret singer. Pretty good movie, and as always, Myrna Loy is a pleasure to watch.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"A People's History of the U.S.Military" by Michael A. Bellesiles (2012)

In this well written book, author Michael A. Bellesiles has taken the entire history of the United States and boiled it down into 10 chapters, each covering a period of our nation’s history and the role the Armed Forces played in those conflicts. It is more of a sociological look at the evolution of our national defense than an actual history of the battles fought. In short, this is a very revealing book about how our citizen soldiers became the Armed Forces as we know them today. From the early militias to the mountains of Afghanistan, Mr. Bellesiles has written a highly readable account of an often overlooked perspective of the wars we have fought, as well as the ordinary men and women who have fought them.

Beginning with the American Revolution and its local militia, the author explores the weaknesses and strengths of an untrained yet highly motivated force and how that motivation was essential to achieving victory on the battlefield. Surprisingly, even General Washington had his doubts about local militia and their ability to stand up against well trained troops. By the war’s end he had a completely different outlook on the subject.

The War of 1812 was supposed to mimic the victory of the militia in the Revolution, but instead exposed the weakness of not having a standing army to defend our young nation. The only real victory on the battlefield in that war came weeks after the peace had been negotiated at Ghent, with neither side gaining a thing. That victory, by General Jackson in New Orleans in January 1815, only served to further obfuscate our nations need for a real army.

The War with Mexico, which set us up for our own Civil War, was fought with a hodge-podge of both militia and Federal Troops. Their performance made the public, as well as the government, understand that we did need some sort of standing Army to defend the nation. Our Navy was doing a splendid job of defending our coast and even raiding other vessels, but our land was still vulnerable.

The Civil War changed much of the prevalent thinking about drafting soldiers for a specific term of service, although the laws did allow you to buy out of the draft, or else send a substitute. The Draft Riots in New York City during July 1863 were largely the consequences of what many believed to be the unfair practice of allowing these substitutes.

The Indian Wars of the late half of the 19th Century galvanized our cavalry troops, who would be the bulwark of our national defense for decades to come. And during the Spanish American War, which extended from Cuba to the Philippines, our cavalry troops were landed by our Navy wherever they were needed.

World War One was fought by volunteers. Although there was a national registration of men eligible for service, the war was largely fought and won by volunteers eager to experience the “glory” of conflict.

After the First World War ended America found herself taking a leading role in the world. By 1940 that role had grown so large, and the threat of a new war was so imminent, that we began an actual draft lottery. This would set the template for military service up to and through the Korean and Vietnam Wars. It was a good system, with every eligible American being called upon to serve his country. 

The draft also acted as a deterrent against becoming involved in “questionable” wars, such as Vietnam. Resistance to the draft in that conflict helped to bring the war to an end, ushering in the all-volunteer military which we have today.

In this lively written and informative book, the author has taken the time and effort to chronicle the history of our Armed Forces and what the continuing evolution of our military means in an ever changing and increasingly dangerous world. This is a great book for veterans and also lovers of military history.

Monday, April 8, 2013

"The Witmark Demos" by Bob Dylan (1962-64)

One of the best things about not having enough money to buy everything you want is that you often come across that item several years later, and, having forgotten all about it, it’s brand new to you. Everyone else may have heard it; all the critics have expressed their views; but for me it’s like finding treasure. It becomes personal; mine; a secret which has apparently passed by all the others who got there first. That’s how this album affected me.

Released in 2010 by Sony Brothers, this unique collection represents the “demos” recorded by Bob Dylan in the first few years of his life as a recording artist. As a result, the collection contains such unusual items as Dylan doing “The Times they Are a Changing” on piano, rather than guitar, It’s more of a hymn than a protest song. I can hardly imagine him lugging a piano around to all those Civil Rights rallies and having the same effect as he did with his guitar upon the millions who saw and heard him.

Almost all of the selections on this album were released on Mr. Dylan’s first 3 albums for Columbia. And even without much change in the arrangements; indeed some were not changed at all; there is more urgency on these tracks than in their final incarnations. There is also a bit of banter with the engineers as he struggles through some of the numbers which lends more of a “live” effect to the songs, making the whole listening experience even better. This is Dylan; alone playing guitar, piano and harmonica; singing the songs he sings best. If you are lucky, as I was, in missing this collection when it was first released; then you are in for a real treat.

Below is the track listing from the rear cover;

RIP Annette

Annette Funicello appears at 43 seconds.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

"Redemption" by Johnny Cash (Circa 1979/80)

Johnny Cash was kind of an enigma. He was; at once; the hottest thing in country, while also one of the most mysterious. Some folks are not aware of the fact that Johnny Cash was against the War in Vietnam. He toured there, entertaining the troops engaged in a war he himself did not believe in, but he believed in all those men and women that were there fighting. These were not volunteers; these were people whose lives had been arbitrarily interrupted by politics. There’s a difference.

While Bob Hope always supported the position of the government, Johnny Cash gave of his time to the people who were caught up in something over which they had no direct control. These were the people he sought to comfort with his deep voice and larger than life heart.

This video is from around 1979, a time in which Mr. Cash had not had a big hit in a few years’ time, choosing mostly to concentrate on gospel music. And, as with anything he ever undertook; from booze to music; he took it seriously, reaching greater heights with each step he took.

About this time Rick Rubin came into his life as a producer. His premise was simple enough; strip away all the band; drums, electric guitars etc; and really get down to the essence of Johnny Cash. The resulting 5 albums which capped off Mr. Cash’s career are proof of the wisdom inherent in that approach. From such diverse offerings as U-2’s “One”, Nine Inch Nails “Hurt” (a #1 hit just before his death) and even former son-in-law Nick Lowe’s “The Beast in Me”, in which he tackles the topic of manic-depression, Mr. Cash was able to re-define his legacy. He was able to expand through the music of other’s, while lending a new take to their works. U-2’s “One” never got through to me until I heard Johnny Cash, alone with his guitar, perform the song.

If you have never heard any of those last 5 albums produced by Rick Rubin; some in Johnny Cash’s bedroom, from his sickbed; you have never really heard Johnny Cash. And that is truly a shame.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

"Bonnie Scotland" with Laurel and Hardy (1935)

“Bonnie Scotland” has always been one of my secret “fun” films by Laurel and Hardy. The plot is fairly simple. Despite the title “Bonnie Scotland”, a large portion of the film actually takes place in India, where the boys get into some mischief, by which they manage to save the day.

The film begins in Scotland, where Stanley is convinced that he is heir to a fortune, which turns out to be somewhat true, but not quite what they expected. As a matter of fact, he has been left a set of bagpipes and a snuff box. That’s the beauty of these films. You can start the film knowing the ending; the fun is in the way that they arrive at their goal; or not! Through a set of unusual circumstances Oliver is left with no clothes, and as a result of a misunderstanding the duo wind up in the army, serving in India. 

A Hal Roach Production, directed by James W. Horne, starring two of the best film comics, this film is a true classic which I remember watching many times on a grainy TV set in the late 1950’s. Outstanding support roles by veteran character actors Vernon Steele as Colonel Gregor McGregor, and the ever frustrated James Finlayson as Sergeant Major Finlayson round out this truly classic film. Cleaned up and sharpened in image, these films represent a classic era of film making in America; a time when improvisation was the rule simply because there were no rules.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Carl Ford and Harry Warren. It CAN Happen Here.

For those of you who live elsewhere and may not have heard this story, there are 2 North Carolina State Representatives; Harry Warren and Carl Ford, both pictured below; who wish to establish a State Religion. Harry Warren represents Rowan County, which is a few miles up the road from me. He, and his cohort, Carl Ford, are both working hard for the elimination of religious freedom in America.

I don’t mind Mr. Warren so much; as he is from Rowan County and that explains an awful lot about him and his views. Mr. Ford however, is from my county and has just lost a vote with his mindless ramblings about the Constitution not applying in the separate states, as it says that only "Congress shall make no laws" concerning religion. Apparently Mr. Ford and Mr. Warren think that we are separate fiefdoms from the rest of the country, and as such, the citizenry here are not under the protection of the nations laws.

I try very hard not to let this blog devolve into politics very often, but when you attack; as these two fine examples of what is wrong with America have done; the very basis of the freedoms which we still enjoy here, I can no longer hold myself silent. It becomes incumbent upon me to ask questions of these two stalwart examples of representation about their proposal.

But, that is only possible if they would answer their phones. I have tried; without success; all day Thursday
to reach either of these individuals; ever since breakfast when I saw the article on the front page of the Charlotte Observer. But, just as slugs hide beneath rocks, these two have chosen to hide behind their answering machines.

So, I will ask the questions here; and then forward this via e-mail. I will happily post their individual responses, in the event that either one would care to do so. I will not be holding my breath.

Just what part of the First Amendment do you two not understand? And if you do understand it, then why would you deny this protection to your own citizens?

If it is true, as you state, that the First Amendment doesn't apply to the states, then what other parts of our national Constitution do you hold in contempt?

How can you, as either private citizen’s, or elected officials, hold in such contempt the constitution you honor when you wave the flags at the “pep” rallies to support our troops who fight overseas to protect the very Constitutional rights which you wish to eradicate?

What religion will be the state religion? Will it be mine; which is Jewish; or yours, which is Christian? And what sect of Christianity will be the one selected? Will there be fighting in the streets in the name of God?

Do neither of you see the similarities in your reasoning with that of the terrorists who would impose Sharia law on the entire world? And, will you be content with only having North Carolina under the banner of a State Sponsored religion, or will you look to export your goals to other states under the guise of State’s Rights?

Are either one of you Veterans of the Armed Forces? If not, then back off of my Constitution. If you are Veterans, then please tell me how you can square your belief in a state sponsored religion with the oath you swore when entering the service; which said that you would protect this nation from all enemies, both foreign and domestic?

These are simple questions which deserve some straight answers. Obviously there is an agenda at work here. And, as a citizen of the state of North Carolina; which is part of the United States of America; I demand to know what that agenda is.

Readers, feel free to contact these two misguided individuals using the information listed below. It’s too important an issue to hope that it will go away. It won’t. Unchecked, it will only grow and grow, kind of like a cancer. 

Harry Warren’s Contact Information



Legislative Mailing Address:
NC House of Representatives
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 611
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925

Carl Ford’s Contact Information



Legislative Mailing Address:
NC House of Representatives
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 607
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925


Thanks to all those who made calls and wrote letters, just as I did. We, the People, can prevail when we put our collective shoulders to the wheel.