Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Review of "Taking Chance"


The movie, "Taking Chance" is a must see!! It is an HBO film based on a moving true story. To be honest, whenever I hear that a movie is done by HBO, I'm pretty skeptical. The reason being that HBO is pretty good at putting out liberal propaganda pieces. That said, this is not the first time I've been pleasantly surprised. The first time was when I was wowed by Iron Jawed Angels.

Lieutenant Colonel Michael R. Strobl made a journey in 2004 that was so moving, he decided to write an article about it. Even though it was unusual for someone of Strobl's rank to escort a fallen soldier's body home, Strobl volunteered to do just that. He didn't even know Pfc. Chance Phelps, but he noticed that he was from a hometown right next to Strobl's own hometown.

Since, Strobl himself helped write the screenplay for the movie it ended up being very accurate. The neat thing about the movie also is that everyone can watch it and be moved whether they are for or against the war. There is nothing political about it.

Below are some excerpts from Strobl's article that show what big hearts Americans have in this country for our men and women who are putting their lives on the line for our freedoms:
On this day there were some civilians doing construction on the mortuary grounds. As each hearse passed, they would stop working and place their hard hats over their hearts. This was my first sign that my mission with Pfc. Phelps was larger than the Marine Corps and that his family and friends were not grieving alone.
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The woman behind the counter already had tears in her eyes as I was pulling out my government travel voucher. She struggled to find words but managed to express her sympathy for the family and thank me for my service. She upgraded my ticket to first class.

After clearing security, I was met by another Northwest Airlines employee at the gate. She told me a representative from cargo would take me to the tarmac to observe the movement and loading of Pfc. Phelps. I hadn't really told any of them what my mission was, but they all knew.

When the man from the cargo crew met me, he, too, struggled for words. On the tarmac, he told me stories of his childhood as a military brat and repeatedly told me that he was sorry for my loss. I was starting to understand that, even here in Philadelphia, far away from Chance's hometown, people were mourning with his family.

On the tarmac, the cargo crew was silent expect for occasional instructions to each other. I stood to the side and saluted as the conveyor moved the container to the aircraft. I was relieved when he was finally settled into place. The rest of the bags were loaded, and I watched them shut the cargo bay door before I headed back to board the aircraft.

One of the pilots had taken my carry-on bag himself and stored it next to the cockpit door so he could watch it while I was on the tarmac. As I boarded the plane, I could tell immediately that the flight attendants had already been informed of my mission. They seemed a little choked up as they led me to my seat.

About 45 minutes into our flight, I still hadn't spoken to anyone expect to tell the first-class flight attendant that I would prefer water. I was surprised when the flight attendant from the back of the plane suddenly appeared and leaned down to grab my hands. She said, "I want you to have this, " as she pushed a small gold crucifix, with a relief of Jesus, into my hand. It was her lapel pin, and it looked somewhat worn. I suspected it had been hers for quite some time. That was the only thing she said to me the entire flight.
Bottom line: I give the movie 2 thumbs up and recommend it for all to see. I only caution you to have a box of kleenex close by.

Additional links:
A Marine's Journey Home
Taking Chance
HBO Films’ Taking Chance - Kevin Bacon, Michael Strobl Interview

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nick Vujicic!


A friend posted this on Facebook. This man's life is a testament to us all and an inspiration! If you've fallen down and feel like you can't get up, take courage! Never give up!! It makes me think of all the people that succeeded only because they didn't quit! May we take heart and be encouraged!

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Review of "Valkyrie"


While on vacation my parents and I watched Valkyrie with Tom Cruise. I have to say that it exceeded my expectations and is probably the best character role I've ever seen Cruise play.

Cruise plays Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who was one of the key players in what was known as the July plot (Operation Valkyrie) to assassinate Hitler. What was fascinating is that it was more than just an assassination attempt, it was a plan to take over the whole German government. I was wondering how accurate the movie was to history and found this:
Peter Hoffmann, professor of history at McGill University and a leading authority on the German Resistance, was a consultant for the filmmakers. Hoffmann spoke of the film's accuracy, "[Valkyrie] gives a fundamentally accurate portrait of Stauffenberg and his co-conspirators. There are details which must be counted as liberties. But, fundamentally, the film is decent, respectful and represents the spirit of the conspiracy."
My Mom and I were amazed that we had never heard more about the July plot or how widespread the German resistance was. There were a total of 15 assassination attempts on Hitler's life by the time the war ended.

Even though I knew how the movie would end and that the plot would fail, I still found it all to be very inspirational. These men and women put their lives on the line for a cause they believed in, they stood up against evil when they knew it could cost them their lives, and it did. Thats what I call courage. I marveled at the thought of how differently Germany would be viewed to this day if they could've taken back their own country from a mad man.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Gilmore Girls!





Several friends and I are watching the show Gilmore Girls on DVD right now. It is an amazing show. I have several great quotes that I will add to this post later when I get a chance.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

My Take on Michael Jackson!


When I was 13 years old and buying my first albums, I bought a copy of Thriller. I liked a couple of his songs and thought he was a good singer. As the years went by his popularity soared and so did his bizarre behavior. To be honest, I didn't pay too much attention. So, I didn't really know much about the first allegations of child sex abuse in 1993.

Then, as an adult, I started to see how tormented Michael Jackson seemed to be, as the surgeries and behavior increased. By the time the second set of allegations of abuse against Jackson were filed in 2005, I was paying attention. The surgeries, the behavior and the allegations all pointed to someone who was a very tormented individual.

I watched a documentary on him that showed how he kept having surgeries so he could look like his hero, Peter Pan. He named his ranch, Neverland and he spent time with young boys. Jackson never had a childhood and seemed determined to spend the rest of his life attempting to re-create one.

Micheal Jackson's death is tragic, as any loss of life is. We don't know yet how culpable any of his Doctors will be in his death. Yet, the bottom line is he had insomnia, he wasn't at peace with himself or his life and he was willing to go to great lengths to find drugs to help him sleep. While I feel sad about the loss of life and empathy for his children, this man was not a god to be worshiped. He was a great entertainer, but one who like Presley and many others found fame fleeting and needed more out of life and didn't find it.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Gerald Ford Presidential Museum


My thanks to Mike and Rivka for the great guest blogging while I was gone. I want to weigh in on numerous issues this week but I'll start off with something I did while on my trip.

I always go and visit family in Michigan every summer. While I was there this time, my Mom and my 2 youngest kids and I went to the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum. Ford wasn't one of my favorite presidents, but my goal is to make it to all of the presidential museums. So, Ford's was a lot easier than Clinton's will be, and I'm not sure I will even be able to bring myself to go to Carter's.

What I liked about the Museum:
--It was a very nice museum overall
--They had a really nice set-up covering Ford's funeral. They had recordings of the speeches at his funeral and you could hear each of them by pushing different buttons. I was able to hear Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld's comments.
--A re-creation of what the Oval Office looked like during Ford's term
--They had a temporary exhibit of Caroline Kennedy's Doll Collection which was fascinating.

Interesting Facts that I learned:
--Ford was on the Warren Commission and he wrote a book on it
--Ford's vast experience
--That Rockefeller was his initial VP but because he was such a liberal Republican Ford dumped him for Bob Dole when he ran for President because of the challenge by the conservative Ronald Reagan

Some of my Thoughts:
--I always have to buy fun stuff at the Presidential Museum gift shops. I bought the book to the left by Betty Ford. Although, I didn't choose to get the autographed copy which was $50.
--While Ford and Dole are 2 of the most patriotic and experienced men to be on a ticket, I can't think of 2 more boring men. Is there any wonder why they lost? The best thing they did was deliver us Jimmy Carter who in turn gave us Ronald Reagan.