Monthly Archives: July 2014

Too True

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Give me liberty or give me death. – Patrick Henry

If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet

Money often costs too much. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

A woman’s guess is much more accurate than a man’s certainty. – Rudyard Kipling, English author

“If it is possible it can be done, if it is impossible it must be done.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” – Thomas Edison

“Chance favors the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur

“There are people who the more you do for them the less they will do for themselves.” – Jane Austen’s Emma

A handful of patience is worth a bushel of brains. – Dutch proverb

“When you exhaust all possibilities, remember this: you haven’t.” – Thomas Edison

“Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” – Dolly Parton

Thinking a smile all the time will keep your face youthful. – Frank G. Burgess, American humorist

What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner. – Colette, French writer

Art is long and life is short. – Hippocrates

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Quiet Is Not the Same as Safe

Papago Wells

“Are there Indians out there? Really, I mean?”

“There are.”

“But it’s so quiet!”

“That’s proof enough. The desert has its own small sounds and when you don’t hear them something is out there warning them to be still.”

“If there are Indians, why did you go out?”

“Looking for places they’ll use for cover when they attack.”

“You might have been killed. You were inviting trouble.”

“Yes, I might have been killed. Each of us is in deadly danger every instant from now until we get to Yuma. But I wasn’t looking for trouble – only a fool takes chances. Fools or children who don’t know any better. Danger is never pretty, it’s never thrilling. It’s dirty, bloody and miserable. It’s choking dust, the pain of wounds and waiting that eats your guts out.

“Nobody but a fool or some crazy kid goes hunting trouble. It’s different when you meet it face to face on a dark night than when you read of it in a book. All this talk of people who look for adventure is from people who’ve had no experience.”

Exchange between Logan Cates and Jennifer Fair in Last Stand at Papago Wells by Louis L’Amour

Two Important Things to Remember

The Cherokee Trail

Long ago, a soldier visiting her father had said something she remembered, “The secret to victory is to attack, always attack. If you have ten thousand men, attack. If you have but two men, attack. There is always a way.” – The Cherokee Trail by Louis L’Amour

Long ago, her father had told her to see. “Not many do, Mary. Learn to see what you are looking at.” – The Cherokee Trail by Louis L’Amour

Armed and Ready

The Great Starship Race

“Captain,” Tom asked, “by arming your weapons, aren’t you inviting battle?”

Kirk glanced back at him, but his attention never really left the forward screen.

“Just being ready for battle never causes it,” he said. “Sometimes, that’s the very force that deflects it. Complacency is what sucks the unready into war.”

Exchange in Star Trek: The Great Starship Race by Diane Carey

Fear

Sackett's Land

“I am somewhat afraid,” I spoke quietly, into the blackness. “It is a strange land into which we go.”

“It is good to say that you are afraid,” Sakim said. “It is not good to be too bold. A little fear makes a man think. It is better to be a little afraid, and yet do what has to be done.” – Louis L’Amour, Sackett’s Land

The Hunger Games: Finnick Odair

The Hunger Games Catching Fire Mockingjay

Initially, I did not want to read The Hunger Games trilogy. Bad memories from reading another series about teenagers fighting and killing people meant I never wanted to pick up a book with such a premise again. But between the urging of a friend and my own curiosity, I gave in and read Collins’ books, determined not to like them at all.

That changed while I was reading Catching Fire.

For anyone who has read the series, watched the film, or cheated and read the Wikipedia files on the trilogy, they know that in Catching Fire Katniss and Peeta end up allying with other tributes from other districts during the Seventy-fifth Hunger Games. One of their new ‘teammates’ is Finnick Odair, a victor from District Four.

Known for his good looks – which send almost every female citizen in the Capitol into a swoon – Katniss dislikes him for his reported string of Capitol lovers and shallow character. And until he enters the arena, Finnick makes himself appear to be a genuinely dislikable ladies’ man.

In the course of the Games, however, he proves to be a noble and generous fellow. He even shows a deep sense of humor. After he, Katniss, and Peeta escape a poisonous fog, they are left with scabs on their skin as they heal from the effects of the toxic mist. When a sponsor sends the three tributes medicine to cure the itchy scabs, Katniss and Finnick are the only ones awake when it arrives.

They begin applying the ointment to each other and discover that, while the medicine eradicates the itching, it also turns their skin an awful shade of green. Katniss then decides to awaken Peeta, whereupon Finnick says they should both do it in order to surprise him with their new color, which makes their appearance hideous. They do manage to scare Peeta awake, and his reaction to their startling “new look” subsequently sends the two into fits of laughter.

It is the one scene in the entire trilogy which actually made me laugh out loud while I was reading it.

In Mockingjay, however, Finnick’s vulnerable side is revealed as he struggles with the knowledge that Annie Cresta, a damaged District Four victor he is in love with, is now in the Capitol’s power. I have to say that I hated reading about his death in that book. I had grown to really like him by that point.

Finnick’s presence in the final two books went a long way to softening my view of the trilogy. It is strange how a second tier character can become so interesting; Finnick’s swashbuckling chivalry, wit, and fun-loving attitude both lighten the hard moments in the books and furthers their point. If I had to choose only one favorite character out of the entire trilogy, I think it would be Finnick.

Later,

The Mithril Guardian

A Jest

The Court Jester

The film I am writing about today is called The Court Jester.  The movie is, by today’s standards, a very old film.  But, as I have probably made clear by now, my tastes are free-ranging in the entertainment world.  If I like something, I like it.

In other cases, as with certain genres or comics – I mean, books – I simply go overboard, which anyone who has read my blog can say with surety.

The Court Jester is a 1950’s comedy based on the Robin Hood legend.  The film stars actor Danny Kaye as Hawkins, an entertainer for the Black Fox’s band of ‘merry men.’  The Black Fox, like Robin Hood, is fighting a man who has usurped the throne of the true King of England.

However, unlike Robin Hood, the Black Fox appears to be in for a long wait before the rightful king can return to take the throne.  You see, the rightful king of England is an infant in the keeping of the Black Fox and his Sherwood Forest-style friends.  When Hawkins is not entertaining the rebels with his song and dance routines (which are a lot of fun, and occur throughout the film), he is stuck playing nanny to the infant King.

This is very awkward for him for two reasons.  One, it makes him look silly in front of the Black Fox’s right-hand woman, Maid Jean (played by Glynis Johns, the mother in Disney’s Mary Poppins).  Hawkins, as you may have guessed, is desperately in love with Maid Jean.  But since he is nothing but a humble entertainer and she a tough, sword swinging rebel, it does not appear that he has any hope of winning her hand in marriage.

The other embarrassing thing about being delegated to caregiver of the baby King is that the true king can only be recognized by the royal family birthmark, called the Purple Pimpernel.  And guess where that is located on the infant King.

Yup.  Underneath his royal diaper!

The Court Jester also stars Basil Rathbone as the Usurper King’s right-hand man, similar to Count Rugen’s position in relation to Prince Humperdink in The Princess Bride.  Except that Rathbone’s character has more sway over the Usurper King than Count Rugen had over Humperdink.  Another great name in the film is Angela Lansbury, who plays the Usurper’s daughter.  While her father is trying to have her marry a nobleman whom she wants nothing to do with, Miss Lansbury’s character is determined to become betrothed to a different man.

So when her old witch-nurse decides to snare Hawkins for her princess – Holy High Jinks, Batman!  Step back, because the ceiling on your laughter is about to get a raise!

The larks never stop in this movie, which has to be one of the best films of the 1950’s era.  Even though I have seen the movie several times now, by the end, my face hurts because I have been smiling and laughing from start to finish!  The Court Jester is a great film “for kids, from one to ninety-two.”  If you can, find a copy, plug it in, sit back, and enjoy!

  Later,

The Mithril Guardian