Thursday, September 9, 2010
Now that is one gutsy guy.
Shortly after the film premiered, Abe Vigoda was driving through Beverly Hills with his wife when a police officer pulled him over. Vigoda was flabbergasted because he hadn’t been speeding. When he pointed out to the police office that he hadn’t been speeding, the officer replied that it was against the law to drive too far under the speed limit. At first, Vigoda was astonished, and then rather alarmed when he noticed a very steely look on the cops face, and that the officer had unsnapped his holster and had taken out his pistol. At this point, a light bulb went on over Vigoda’s head. He said in his sweetest voice, officer did you recently see a movie called The Godfather? The officer said yes. Vigoda replied, “Officer, I was in that movie; I’m an actor. Now put you’re gun a way and quit scaring the bejesus out of us.”
Vigoda had fallen victim to a good cop’s instincts: ”Wait I’ve seen that face somewhere. He’s a really bad guy; I need to check this out.”
Several years later, in 1928, a Notre Dame team was down at half time against an undefeated Army team when Rockne told them that on his death bed, Gipp had said to him, “I’ve gotta go now Rock, its ok. I’m not afraid. But some day, when the team is up against it, and the breaks are beating the boys, I want you to tell them to go out there with all they’ve got and win one for the Gipper. I don’t know where I’ll be then, but I’ll know about it and I’ll be happy.” Whether the Gipp actually said that to Rockne we do not know. But what we do know is that the Notre Dame squad played their hearts out in the second half and won a hard fought game, 12-6. Even today, 70 years after Rockne’s death, to give an inspiring speech is known as doing a Knute Rockne.
Another major factor in the Knute Rockne legend was the 1940 Hollywood film: Knute Rockne, All American in which Edmond O’Brien portrayed Rockne and Ronald Reagan played the Gipper. That legend about “wining one for the Gipper” has proved so persistent that 40 years later, in the climax of the mad-cap comedy Airplane, Leslie Nielson inspires Robert Hayes to land the plane by telling him that years before, the fictitious dying Lieutenant George Zip told him to “Give it all he’s got and win one for the Zipper.”
Later, the manager said “I’m impressed with how you handled that. We’re going to be opening up a new store in the chain. Would you be interested in being a manager in the new store?” “That depends on where the store is located,” replied the clerk. “The store’s going to be in Columbus, Ohio.” “Columbus Ohio? Nothing comes out of Columbus but hookers and football players.”
…….silence….. dead sllence.
“I’ll have you know that my mother my daughter and my wife all come from Columbus, Ohio,” snorted the manager.
“Great!” said the clerk, “What positions do they play?”
Friday, August 27, 2010
I actually looked on the inside cover of the magazine and found the name Kimberly McArthur. Later that day I asked Bobbie if she ever modeled under the name McArthur. It was not until sometime later when I found out that Kimberley McArthur had been the 1983 Playboy of the Month. She was 5’4” and Bobbie was 5’10” (and yes, I’m the only guy who would’ve looked at that).
At the end of the season, when the Navy football team won the base championship, I presented Bobbie with a Navy blue and gold football jersey with her name printed across the back and bearing the number 10. (Bobby is one of the few women I’ve seen who could wear a number 10 and nobody would snicker).
There are a few more stories about Bobbie that stand out in my mind. One night Bobbie’s boyfriend was playing pool with another guy, and for reasons I cannot fathom, Bobbie decided she was not getting enough attention. That evening, she was wearing black hot pants and a hot pink halter-top. That was enough to turn any guys head. Bobbie had had more than a few drinks and was about two sheets to the wind. Every time her boyfriend’s opponent would line up a shot, Bobbie would bend over the pool table and wiggle and giggle. This drew quite a crowd. Every time Shocking Blue sings, “I’m your Venus” with the lyric “Makin’ every man a mess,” I think of the show Bobbie put on that night. I have no idea what Bobbie was drinking that night, but if I did I’d order a few cases of it.
I have no idea who won that game, but I distinctly remember stepping outside to cool off with other awestruck young sailors, some of whom literally howled at the moon. And I will kindly note that, as much as we appreciated Bobbie’s shenanigans, nobody laid a hand on her.
Sometime later though, Bobbie inadvertently touched off the great Fort Meade Army Navy pissing contest. I heard this story straight from Bobbie. She told me that her Army supervisor had approached her when everybody else was out of the office, placed his hands on her shoulders and said, “I could make things a whole lot easier for you around here,” and briefly touched her breast. Shortly thereafter somebody stepped into the office and Bobbie made a hasty exit. She reported what happened and the fecal matter hit the proverbial fan. Big time.
The Navy command wanted that soldier court-martialed; the Army argued that he should only lose a stripe and be demoted. I understand he was ultimately given a fault transfer and shipped over to Germany with a notation on his permanent personnel record reporting what had happened. One more incident like that and he would be out of the service with a dishonorable discharge. The fact that he was a married man with children might have played some part in that resolution. I will add that there are few things more pathetic than a man in his mid 30’s with no prior experience other than that sort of dishonorable discharge. Have fun getting a job with a record of sexual assault.
P.S. For the Navy barracks 1983 Christmas party, Bobbie showed up as always looking awesome: black slacks, white sweater, and a gold metallic belt. I happened to speak with the executive officer of the Navy detachment, a Commander. I nodded towards Bobbie and commented, “I guess you’ve been hearing quite a bit about her, haven’t you sir?” “Who’s that?” he asked. “That’s Petty Officer Jeremiasen,” I said. The commander replied, “Oh, so that’s who she is.” He also made a comment to the effect that the offending soldier had very good taste but incredibly bad judgment. The reason I like this story is that the Commander did not know who Bobbie was.
I also want to note for the record, and I also heard this from Bobbie herself, that I never heard anyone in a Navy barracks say anything like, “Oh, she must have been asking for it.” Indeed, when I spoke with Bobbie and mentioned that I would really like to get my hands on the guy who had groped her, she cheerily informed me that if I wanted to kick that guy’s ass I would have to stand in line. She’d gotten the same offer from a few other guys.
All things considered, I’m proud of the fact that both the navy officers and enlisted men behaved with decency and respect.
P.P.S.: Bobby if you’re reading this and you’re single, call me.
The next day, I read a newspaper editorial excoriating the judge for only giving the blind bandit probation. (To my English readers: no, neither the original story nor the editorial was published on April 1st.) Twenty-five years later, I still find that editorial amazing. Of all the things I find frightening, blind bank robbers armed only with a threatening note do not make the top five hundred. Furthermore, if that guy ever re-offended, exactly how hard would it be to catch him? (A blind man with a note? Does that match the MO of any other bank robbers?)"
I would have recommended that he try something else for excitement. Like sky diving. (Of course, that would be pretty scary for the guide dog).
"Because for the rest of his life, people are going to be telling him, 'That's funny...you don't *look* Siouxish!'"
Then of course, there was the Black fellow who married a Japanese lady. Every December 7th, their children would invade Pearl Bailey.
The neat thing about this joke is that it is multipurpose- you can make it about a Muslim, a Mormon, or a Baptist. All three of those faiths proscribe alcohol.
The story goes that a guy with a long history of being a terrible drunk, converted to (pick one of the three) and learned that he could only drink alcohol if it was necessary to save his life. Late that night, he was found wading through a swamp yelling "Here, Snake! Here, Snake!"
Furthermore, since I make a living subpoenaing people to court who are none to happy about missing a day of work, I have NO patience *what*so*ever* with a supermodel who is a millionaire dozens of times over, who doesn't care to testify in, not a murder case, but a *mass* murder case. Furthermore, from the testimony of other witnesses, it is quite clear to me that Ms. Campbell repeatedly perjured herself, and she should go to prison for a great many years, though sadly, she won't. Naomi Campbell is not just stupid, she is *evil.*
Of course, I'm sure that some people would say that as a lawyer, I'm in the same business.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
*Note to readers: I have no idea where this bit of composition comes from, or what it means.
Bah bah bah bah, bah bah bah bah
Bah bah bah bah, bah bah bah bah, at Shabbat!
When the dreidel starts a spinnin’ well the fun is just beginning at Shabbat.
You can read from the Torah, maybe light a menorah, at Shabbat.
Come on girls and boys, don’t act like all the goys,
Do the Judaic sensation that’s sweepin’ the nation at Shabbat.
Let's go to Shabbat, let's go to Shabbat (Oh baby)
Let's go to Shabbat, let's go to Shabbat...
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Happily enough, the tone of those small temples were not “All hail the Son of Heaven Hirohito,” but more in the spirit of “We attacked and killed your people, and then you attacked and killed our people, and we’re sorry about that. It was a bad thing.” After hearing that, I had to completely revise my opinion about the Manhattan Islamic center. While I would be a whole lot more comfortable if they built it one mile away, on the other side of Broadway, they are certainly entitled to build it on private land.
Furthermore, Frank Rich makes an excellent point in a recent NYT op ed column (I don’t think much of either Rich or the NYT, but he’s got a point in this one). He observed that if we are fighting a war in an entirely Islamic country like Afghanistan, it does not make general Petraus’ job any easier to hear about protestors trying to block the construction of an Islamic center in the United States.
Indeed we did, because in the early 1970’s, Marcus Wayne Chenault travelled down to Atlanta, Georgia, walked into the Ebenezer Baptist Church, and shot Martin Luther King’s mother to death. He had a list of names in his pocket that included Aretha Franklin. What his motivation in doing this could have been, I have no idea. And Chenault took his secret to the grave. He died in prison. I’m rather glad about that, but I fear that some day some idiot conspiracy theorist will accuse me of having been part of a conspiracy against Ms. King. After all, I did work in the same restaurant with the assassin, didn’t I?
The lesson I draw from this is that sometimes there really are lone nuts who do amazingly stupid and violent things. A great many people are convinced that James Earle Ray was part of a conspiracy to kill Dr. Martin Luther King. This is a subject with which I have some familiarity because my Criminal Law Professor at Notre Dame, G. Robert Blakely, was Chief Counsel to the House Select Committee on Assassinations. He interviewed Ray and tripped him up repeatedly in the story Ray was trying to sell. If I were going to rub somebody out, I certainly would not hire someone like Ray as a triggerman. Of Ray’s 70 years on this earth, 38 of them (over half) were spent in prison. He got two years for armed robbery in Chicago, four years at Leavenworth for a Post Office robbery, and 20 years at the Missouri State Penitentiary for armed robbery. He managed to escape after seven years of the 20-year sentence by hiding in an enormous bread container. Several months after King’s assassination, he was arrested in London’s Heathrow Airport while trying to make his way to Rhodesia.
I once saw a documentary on the murder site in Memphis. The producers measured the distance from the room Ray was staying in to the balcony of the hotel where Martin Luther King died. The distance was only 72 yards. That would be an impossible shot with a pistol, but for anyone with even the slightest skill with a rifle, it would be difficult to miss at that range. And in 1977 and again in 1979 Ray demonstrated that he had not lost any of his talents as an escape artist. In 1977, Ray and six other inmates managed to break out of the Tennessee maximum-security facility. At the time, several members of the civil rights establishment claimed that this was proof of a huge conspiracy, and that someone was going to eliminate Ray to keep him from talking. That prediction turned out not to be accurate. Ray and all his accomplices were recaptured within 72 hours. After another escape and recapture in 1979, Ray spent the rest of his life in Brushy Mountain, dying of complications related to hepatitis after serving 29 years of a 99-year sentence.
I recently learned that for his part in the escape, Tennessee added one more year to his prison sentence. I think someone at that Tennessee penitentiary has an excellent sense of humor.
Aside from being an inept armed robber and a fairly talented escape artist, Ray was also good at spinning yarns for people unwary enough to listen to him. Shortly before he died, Ray met with one of Martin Luther King’s sons, who told him that he was not the shooter. Dexter King later said that he was convinced that Ray was not guilty of murdering his father. Speaking to someone who has examined the record closely, I can only imagine that Ray had a very good chuckle when he got back to his cell, seeing that while he was going to spend the rest of his life in prison, at least he had totally fooled one of his victim’s sons. One of the reasons people want to believe that there was a huge government conspiracy to kill Martin Luther King Jr. is that they don’t want to accept that such an historic figure could be killed by as evil a non-entity as James Earle Ray. Or, for that matter, as Marcus Wayne Chenault.
As far as who did the worst job of discharging his duties as Chief Executive, I told Professor Byerchen that it would very difficult to top either Abraham’s Lincoln’s predecessor or his successor. James Buchanan sat on his hands for seventy days as a lame duck president, taking no action after South Carolina seceded from the Union. Had Buchanan acted decisively, America might have been spared a bloody civil war. And our 17th president, Andrew Johnson, arrived at his inauguration as Vice President on March 4th, 1865 staggering drunk, much to the chagrin of Lincoln and the entire inaugural crowd. A month later, Johnson became president and proved to be so abrasive in his dealings with Congress that he wound up being the first President ever to be impeached. I then asked Professor Byerchen whom he would pick, to which he replied, Dick Cheney. Prof Byerchen is a brilliant man with a very sharp sense of humor.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
So, when Private Millin stepped off the landing craft at Sword beach in water deep enough to make his kilt float, he was playing his bagpipes. And as he walked across the beach amid machine gun and mortar fire, he was still playing his bagpipes.
Later in the day, Lord Lovat led his unit inland to relieve a group of paratroopers who had seized a key bridge far inland at midnight the night before. By 1pm, they'd suffered a lot of casualties and were no doubt wondering if anybody was ever going to come to relieve them, when in the distance, they heard Millin's bagpipes playing "Blue Bonnets over the Border." It was Millin walking down the middle of the road beside Lord Lovat. This incident was immortalized in the film The Longest Day, although Millin did not get to play himself.
Millin later met a great many German soldiers who told him that they had had a clean shot at him, but did not fire at him because they figured he was "off his head." A great many of his comrades called him a "mad bas***d" too. Brave? Crazy? Both? Or maybe crazy like a fox: 4,400 Allied soldiers died on D-Day, but happily, Millin was not one of them. A few days later, his bagpipes were damaged by a piece of shrapnel, but Millin himself was unhurt. Millin's bagpipes are now in the Imperial War Museum.
Today, I learned something I simply could NOT make up. After leaving the Royal Army, Millin had a medical career working as a psychiatric nurse. Perhaps he had great empathy and understanding for his patients. ("Hey, you think *you're* crazy? TOP THIS!)
It strikes me as a amazing that a man who faced that much danger managed to live long enough to see the 66th anniversary of D-Day: he died earlier this month. At his funeral, I really hope they played "Scotland the Brave."
Monday, August 23, 2010
I *distinctly* remember the Judge telling both of them that if he heard one more word from *either* of them he'd give them 30 days in jail. I was admitted to the bar 22 years ago, and this is the first time I've ever heard a judge come down on someone that hard. I wrote about that incident on my blog entry, "Fracas on the Sixth Floor."
Last week, the perpetrator filed a complaint against me with the Columbus Bar Association.
Anyhow, I just learned that Ms. Warthog's male companion was named...wait for it... McNaughton. Not just McNaughton, but *Daniel* McNaughton. No, I did NOT make that up. At this point, I suspect that all lawyers reading this are cackling, and if non-lawyers bother to Google the name "Daniel McNaughton," they'll get a good laugh too.
Hmmm . . . so I suppose the question is, did Mr. McNaughton suffer from a defect of reason as to not know the nature or quality of his action or, if he did know it, was he unaware that what he was doing was wrong?
What did one Illinois prison inmate say to another Illinois prison inmate?
"I think the food here was better here when *you* were Governor."
Today, former Illinois Governor Ron Blagojevich was convicted on one felony count (the jury deadlocked on 23 other felony counts--another jury will decide those). Blago is the *4th* Illinois Governor in the past 40 years to be convicted of a felony. (Three Democrats and one Republican, for anyone keeping score.)
Friday, August 13, 2010
As everyone knows, there is a proposal to build an Islamic Center a few blocks from Ground Zero in Manhattan. I think that while that is legal, it is grossly inappropriate. I think it is exactly the same as if Japanese Shintoists tried to build a temple of Ford Island at Pearl Harbor right next to the wreck of the USS Arizona.
So, I was delighted to hear that Greg Gutfeld, the host of Redeye, has announced that he intends to build a gay bar next door to the mosque- with one floor devoted to gay Muslims- no alcoholic drinks allowed. I *fervently* hope Mr. Gutfeld follows through on his plan- and maybe erects a flagpole flying a gigantic rainbow flag enscribed with the Muslim declaration of faith.
The James brother’s most famous bank robbery took place in Northfield, Minnesota on September 7th of 1876. The James’ claimed that they picked out that particular bank because it was owned by two ex-carpetbaggers, Adelbert Ames, who had been Republican governor of Mississippi during Reconstruction, and his father-in-law, Congressman and US Major General, Benjamin Butler. On that fateful day in September, the two James brothers, three Younger brothers, and two other men rode into Coffeeville intent on robbing the First National Bank, which had 12,000 dollars in its vault. Their plan hit a major snag when they ran into the bank’s assistant cashier, Joseph Lee Heywood, who told the gang members that the bank’s vault had a time lock and that he could not open it. In the present day, in our age of FDIC guaranteed deposits, no one could possibly expect a bank employee to show that kind of fortitude. However, in those days money lost in a bank robbery was simply gone. Heywood knew he was protecting the life savings of his entire community. Joseph Heywood proved himself to be a very brave man: despite having his skull broken by a pistol butt, having a knife held to his throat till it drew blood, and then having a bullet fired an inch from his head, Heywood continued to insist that he could not open the vault.
No good deed goes unpunished. Before the James gang left the bank, one of them shot Heywood in the head, killing him. He left a wife and young daughter. By this time, the James gang discovered that they had picked wrong town’s bank to rob. A great many town’s people had grabbed rifles and shotguns and started firing at the outlaws. One was killed on the spot, three other gang members were wounded, and one townsperson was killed. The James brothers tried to make a clean getaway but soon learned that just about everyone in that part of Minnesota was coming after them. The gang split up. A posse surrounded the Younger brothers and one other gang member, Charlie Pitts, and they simply shot Pitts on the spot. The brothers received 25 year prison terms. One of them died in prison; the other two served out their sentences, but one, upon learning that his terms of parole required that he not leave Minnesota, took the easy way out and committed suicide (have you ever tried living in Minnesota?). Cole Younger actually managed to live into old age and in his dotage went on the lecture circuit with Frank James. Two former blood thirsty sociopathic killers became much in demand speakers. Go figure. There are a couple of extraordinary ironies about the James family saga. One of them is that Jesse James had a son, Jesse junior, who was only six years old when his father was killed. He grew up to be a lawyer, changed his name (gee, I wonder why), and moved to California where he died in 1950.
Every September 7th, Northfield, Minnesota celebrates the defeat of the James gang. The final irony is that, as a result of a shoot out that cost five men their lives and that led three men to go to prison to serve long prison sentences, and due to Joseph Heywood’s heroics, the James gang got away with a grand total of $26.70. Five men died for that.
A former co-worker of mine once told me that one day in the 1950’s, his father and a bunch of his friends from school were playing sandlot baseball in Boston when a white Cadillac Escalade pulled up and a very tall man (about 6’ 3”), slender but very powerfully built, stepped out and asked the boys for directions to a particular address in the neighborhood. After getting directions, the tall stranger got back in his Cadillac and drove off. Most of the kids didn’t give the matter much thought; however one of their class mates was absolutely awestruck. He said to his playmates, “Don’t you know who that was?” After they replied that they didn’t know, he said emphatically “That was Ted Williams!” This led to considerable discussion as to what exactly Ted Williams would have been doing in that neighborhood, on that particular sandlot, on that particular day. It was not until quite some time later that my friend’s father learned the truth about that incident. Ted Williams had at times a very prickly personality and feuded with Boston sports writers for his entire 22 year career. However, anyone familiar with Boston’s most famous charity, the Jimmy Fund, knew that Williams was active with that organization from his rookie year until long past his retirement, and was ultimately immortalized with a statue honoring this commitment. With absolutely no fanfare, Williams was on his way to visit a young boy who had suffered horrendous burns; Ted was going over to the kid’s house to play catch.
Moral of the story: if you have any regard for your long term reputation, never miss a chance to be nice to sick and handicapped kids. People will remember that half a century later, even long after you’re dead and gone.
Anybody interested in the truth can watch the entire fight on Youtube and can see for themselves that at the end of fifteen rounds, Giardello was scoring repeatedly with his left jab and with good body shots. Not only did he win the fight by unanimous decision, almost every newspaper man covering the fight thought Giardello was a clear victor. Perhaps most importantly, Reuben Carter himself was quoted saying that he thought he had won the fight nine rounds to six, though he never contested the decision. A far cry from the lopsided contest depicted by the movie.
I don’t know all the facts of the Reuben Carter case, but it occurs to me that if Hollywood is willing to lie so egregiously about the outcome of the prizefight, maybe Reuben Carter really was guilty of murder.
When news of this got around, Namath relates, some natives of Montgomery were astonished when Namath took off his helmet and they saw that he was white. Whenever I hear a “civil rights” activist state that white people do not have any idea what its like to be called n***r, I think of Joe Namath, who I believe is entitled to say, “Not so fast…”
It concerned a friendly competition between two Japanese army sub lieutenants, Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda. The two of them had engaged in a friendly competition to see which one of them could behead 100 Chinese first. The story relates that Mukai had decapitated 106 people, whereas Noda had managed only 105. Since they weren’t sure who had made it to 100 first, they decided to up the bet to 150. The article actually said that apparently the competition was “neck and neck.” Some Japanese revisionists have tried to dismiss this incident as an urban legend, but there is a Japanese writer who relates that Noda gave a speech at the writers elementary school describing his sword play, even admitting that only a few of the men he beheaded were in combat. All the rest were prisoners.
I’m happy to report that after the war both Mukai and Noda were tried and convicted of war crimes and executed by hanging, not decapitation. Considering the kind of institutional ethos that would tolerate much less celebrate those kind of atrocities, I think one of General McArthur’s wisest moves in directing the occupation of Japan was confiscating all samurai swords.
For many years, some historians doubted Outerbridge’s story until August 28, 2002, when the wreck submarine was located just five miles off the Hawaiian coast (and seven miles inside American territorial waters). What is truly frightening is that today some Japanese revisionists try to argue that America actually started the Pacific war because the Ward fired the first shot. They ignore the fact that that Japanese midget submarine was 3,000 miles from Tokyo. With such people it is vain to argue. There was one more striking irony about the history of the USS Ward. Outerbridge soon received another command (the USS Obrien, DD-725: the hull number certainly indicates how much the US Navy expanded during WWII). Exactly three years to the day after Pearl Harbor, the USS Ward was hit by a kamikaze pilot off the Philippines. The crew could not bring the resulting fires under control and had to abandon ship. It was Captain Outerbridge’s duty to sink his old ship by gunfire.