Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Today's Tune: Bobby Womack - Lookin' for a Love

A Tribute to the Mighty James Garner


July 21, 2014

According to various media reports, police were called to the Los Angeles home of James Garner Saturday night where the television and screen legend was found dead of natural causes. He was 86. The Emmy winner and 1986 Oscar nominee (Best Actor in "Murphy's Romance") is survived by Lois, his wife of 56 years, and daughters Kimberly and Gigi.

Before trying acting on a whim, the Oklahoma-born Garner worked as a roughneck in the oilfields, as a telephone installer, and as a lifeguard and janitor. He served his country honorably in the Korean War and earned two Purple Hearts.
Like many screen legends who made the mistake of making it look way too easy (the Oscar-less Cary Grant, Barbara Stanwyck, and Edward G. Robinson, for example), there are not enough words or awards to do justice to The Mighty James Garner's brilliance as an actor. In his terrific memoir "The Garner Files," Garner reveals that he learned the technique through listening.
Garner's first role was as one of six judges in a stage production of Herman Wouk's "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial." He had no lines. His job night after night was to sit silently for two hours and watch the other actors act. Luckily for Garner, two of those actors were Lloyd Nolan and Henry Fonda.
The qualities Garner and Fonda shared are unmistakable. Simply by showing up, both (who became lifelong friends) epitomized the confident non-conformist who is uncommonly comfortable in his own skin; American can-do masculinity, common decency, and a formidable sly streak that made crossing them a bad idea.
By all accounts, Garner was very close to that man in real life -- he certainly was his own man. Although a pacifist (Garner said he held the exact same anti-war views as the "proud coward" he played in 1964's "The Americanization of Emily"), he was a pacifist with two Purple Hearts and a reputation for punching out anyone he found deserving.
During the Korean War, Garner was a scrounger (a vocation he would go on to immortalize in 1963's "The Great Escape").
Both of Garner's iconic television series -- "Maverick" and "The Rockford Files" -- ended in bitter lawsuits. In both cases Garner abruptly quit a hit show and then risked his career to sue powerhouse employers Warner Bros. and Universal (twice) because he felt he had been wronged and cheated. Garner prevailed in his lawsuits and his career never lost a step.
Although a proud, lifelong Democrat and liberal, Garner was also a patriotic traditionalist who wanted nothing to do with dirty or violent films. "I'm no do-gooder," Garner wrote in his memoir, "I just like to do good movies. I consider myself an average American and I think I have a duty to other average Americans. … I prefer clean over dirty."
He explained why he turned down a role in Sylvester Stallone's "Rambo": "He had a bad attitude. He killed a bunch of Americans -- National Guardsmen and police. … I guess the violence in my early life made me partial to characters who try to avoid it."
"I like things the old-fashioned way," Garner added. "Where the language is clean and the sex scenes done tastefully, not graphically. … Now we have formula pictures that appeal to the lowest common denominator. Everybody's wrong and nobody cares enough to point out what's right."
In over 50 feature films and 2 iconic television series, Garner's characters did a lot of pointing to what was right … and wrong; sometimes cynically, almost always reluctantly. But in the end a selfless and self-effacing hero would emerge even if the white hat made him uncomfortable and a little cranky.
Amiable, broad-shouldered, and handsome, Garner spent a half-century easily moving back and forth between television and film roles, a feat very few lead actors have successfully pulled off. Garner was the rare leading man who could spend countless hours in our living rooms without losing the quality that made him a movie star.
On top of headlining two of the most enduring television series in history, Garner starred in a number of outstanding films that range from timeless crowd pleasers to legitimate classics: "Sayonara" (1957),  "The Children's Hour" (1961), "The Great Escape" (1963), "The Americanization of Emily" (1964), "Grand Prix" (1966), "Support Your Local Sheriff" (1971), "The Skin Game" (1971), "Victor Victoria" (1982), "Murphy's Romance" (1985), "Maverick" (1994), "Space Cowboys" (2000), and "The Notebook" (2004).
As if that's not enough, Garner starred in a number of memorable television movies which resulted in numerous award nominations and wins: "Heartsounds" (1984),  "Promise" (1986), "My Name Is Bill W." (1989), "Decoration Day" (1990), "Barbarians at the Gate" (1993), "Breathing Lessons" (1994), and a personal favorite of mine, "The Streets of Laredo" (1999), a miniseries good enough to live up to its predecessor, the 1989 classic "Lonesome Dove."
And then there was that series of charming Polaroid commercials from the late 1970's where Garner and Mariette Hartley were so convincing as a couple people believed they were married in real life:
For as long as either they or I have been around, there have been five pop culture constants in my life that are never-ending sources of joy: Classic studio movies, John Wayne's films, Frank Sinatra's music, "Married with Children," and "The Rockford Files."
When "The Rockford Files" premiered in 1974, I was 8 years old. Ever since, 40 years on, almost non-stop -- from late night reruns on a vacuum tube-powered TV to the modern-day miracle of digital streaming -- the adventures of Jim, Rocky, Angel, Beth and Dennis have been a part of the playlist and background of my life.
Despite all the great television released over the last decade or so, I still think "Rockford" is the best written and acted one-hour drama television has ever seen. Over 4 years ago I explained why in an article that explained why Hollywood can't remake "The Rockford Files":
You can't remake "The Rockford Files." You can call a television show "The Rockford Files." Hell, you can call your parakeet "The Rockford Files," but that doesn't mean it's "The Rockford Files."
That show was James Garner, and if you've recently watched any of the episodes you know that the thirty-years that have passed since the program went off the air in 1980 have only served to cement its timelessness and status as a true classic. Sure, the sports coats might be a little loud and the sideburns too long, but Mike Post's iconic theme, that awesome gold Pontiac Firebird and some of the best writing ever seen on television have kept the series as entertaining, compelling and fresh as anything produced today. …
The original "Rockford Files," which ran on NBC from 1974 to 1980, was not just another hour-long detective/crime/mystery show. It was lightning in a bottle, the perfect mix of smart producers and talented writers who understood the unique quality of their star, James Garner, a man who could take an off-beat line of dialogue and make magic from it like no other.
Jim Rockford was also a character Garner had been perfecting for over a decade in films like "The Great Escape, "The Americanization of Emily," and under-appreciated classics such as "Skin Game" and "Support Your Local Sheriff[.]"
And what a delightfully interesting and endlessly fascinating character he was. On the surface, Jim Rockford was cheap ("I have expenses."), always looking out for number one, ready to quit whenever threatened, rarely carried a gun ("Because I don't want to shoot anyone!"), demanded his civil rights at the drop of a hat, and had no ambition beyond covering his monthly nut and going fishing with his dad, Rocky (Beery).
If the former con man and jailbird (for a crime he was innocent of) was ever the hero in any of the 122 mostly self-contained episodes, he was a reluctant one due to a complicated code of honor that somehow managed to remain consistent even as it kept surprising. Unlike his 1970s contemporaries such as Mannix, McCloud, Cannon, and Barnaby Jones, Rockford frequently failed to come out on top (his clients had a way of stiffing him), hated hitting people (it hurt the hand) and most of all, despised The Man: anyone in authority from police captains who forever threatened his license to lazy government bureaucrats who gave off attitude.
Rockford was cynical, glib, petty, a dirty fighter, had a temper, a smart mouth, a non-TV star waistline (tacos and Oreo cookies were a weakness), and chose to retain his fierce independence even though it meant barely scraping together a living in a rusty house trailer that uglied up a beachside Malibu parking lot. Rockford could also be intimidated (temporarily) and though he was always the smartest person in the room, it was surprisingly easy to catch him off guard.
But beneath those flaws and quirks was James Garner, a one-of-a-kind talent who gave this character what he gave all his characters, an unmistakable undercurrent of warmth and competence that kept us on his side. Boiled down to essentials, Jim Rockford was -- unless he was running a game on some deserving scoundrel -- an honest man who couldn't help but offer the world a running verbal commentary on life as he saw it. Nothing was sacred, either. Government bureaucracy, pious hypocrites, and Hollywood celebrity would all come away with blisters after any confrontation with the working class PI.
We loved Rockford because he hated stupidity, insecurity, laziness and phonies as much as we did. And we loved him because even though he had led a life that had time and again made clear that there was no profit in doing the right thing, by the time the credits rolled -- though he bitched and moaned the whole way there -- Jim Rockford always did the right thing. He was also loyal to his friends, sometimes to a fault, and would risk his livelihood and even his life to get them out of a jam. …
Over six seasons a caustic, complicated, paunchy, middle-aged Los Angeles PI managed to give almost as good as he got as he eked out a living filled with betrayals, disappointments, reversals, beatings and many a trip to jail. Through it all, though, James Rockford persevered, never once giving up an inch of his dignity or sharply observant sense of humor. This premise brought to life by geniuses and a creative alchemy even they had difficult recreating in a series of "Rockford" television films in the 90s, gave us one of the best one-hour dramas ever created.
So to those involved in this coming remake, I wish you nothing but success and a long run and the vast wealth that comes with syndication. May your show meet with critical acclaim and a shower of Emmys.
Whatever that show is.
Because no matter what you call it, it won't be "The Rockford Files."
I want to express my personal condolences James Garner's daughter, Gigi Garner, who for years, through her Twitter account and other social media platforms, has been paying tribute to her dad befriending his many fans (like myself). 
Knowing how tough this loss is on those of us who for so long admired him from afar, it is impossible to imagine what she and all of James Garner's loved ones are going through.   
Let me leave you with the finest hour of television ever produced:

Follow  John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC   

Appreciation: James Garner, reluctant hero

July 21, 2014
James Garner as Bart Maverick and Jack Kelly as Bret Maverick from the television program 'Maverick'.

There are actors. There are icons.
And then there are those rare stars who illuminate what it means to be American at our best. The ones you look at and think, yeah, that's the man I'd like to be. Or be with.
And that's James Garner.
For over 50 years, he was the epitome of the reluctant hero. Smart, funny, handsome, sort of larcenous and uncomfortable around fools — which, considering how many fools there are, could make him a little cranky. Someone who's good in a fight, but would rather not have to prove it. Someone who, when riled, could sue his studio bosses twice, and win both times.
We first saw his on-screen persona full-blown in Maverick, a 1957 Western that stood out from the era's herd of horse dramas by slipping in a satirical tone, overcoming ABC's fear that comedy and the Old West could not mix. Garner was Bret Maverick, card shark and — when absolutely required — gunslinger, tooling around the west looking for ladies and finding trouble. Well, and ladies.
Or at least he did until 1960, when he walked out on the show and on his Warner Bros. contract. The studio sued and Garner fought back — and in a rare victory in those days for actors, won his freedom.
Soured, perhaps, by his television experience, he spent the next decade in movies. Success followed him to the big screen, with films ranging from comedies like The Thrill of It All and The Art of Love, to action hits like The Great Escape and Grand Prix, to cult favorites like The Americanization of Emily and Marlowe, to an unofficial revival of his Maverick character in Western comedies like Support Your Local Gunfighter and Skin Game.
Despite a burgeoning film career, he returned to television in 1971 as a scheming, money-hungry, anti-hero sheriff in the offbeat, end-of-the-West Western Nichols. It was a terrific series that would have been a smash hit for HBO, had there been an HBO at the time. On NBC it was a flop — so much so that, in a last-ditch plea for renewal, the producers killed Nichols in the last episode and replaced him with his more upright twin brother, also played by Garner. The show was canceled anyway.
The show was gone, but Garner stayed in TV. He and Mariette Hartley did a string of commercials for Polaroid that were so popular, and so natural, people thought the pair were married.
Undeterred by his Nichols experience, Garner tried series television again a few years later with 1974's The Rockford Files. The result was yet another signature role, and the one that perhaps most fully develops and enshrines the persona he created forMaverick. Both performances are essentially, wonderfully comic, but in place of Maverick's roguish youth, Rockford adds the poignancy of Jim Rockford's middle age, from his physical aches to his realization of this unjustly imprisoned ex-con that life did not always turn out as one hoped. It was Garner at his best, and it set a standard for detectives with depth TV has yet to surpass.
Yet as good as Garner was as Rockford and as much as he may have enjoyed it, the physical demands of the role overwhelmed him — and while the sixth season was still going on, Garner walked out. It led to yet another legal battle, with Universal suing Garner and Garner countersuing, claiming the studio cheated him out of his share of the profits. The near eight-year lawsuit eventually settled out of court, with Garner winning an undisclosed amount — making it Garner 2, Studios 0.
While fighting Universal, he entered his most prolific and productive film period. On the big screen, he had two of his biggest and best hits, Victor Victoria and Murphy's Romance. On TV, he starred in such well-regarded movies as HeartsoundsMy Name is Bill W, Space, Decoration Day and Barbarians at the Gate.
Best of all, he was able to show us the extent of his range, exploring the serious and not so lovable side of his customary lovable rogue in the 1986 TV movie Promise. Playing opposite James Woods, Garner starred as a self-absorbed bachelor forced to fulfill his promise to care for his mentally ill brother — and then forced to admit that it was a responsibility he could not fulfill. It remains one of the toughest, most honest TV movie performances ever.
Age slowed him, but did not stop him. He did Space Cowboys and The Notebook, among other films, for the movies, and Man of the People, Chicago HopeFirst Monday and 8 Simple Rules for TV.
His performances have now come to an end, but the work endures — and despite a fine movie career, TV will always be his home in our minds' eye. And it's not just because he was so wonderful in so many wonderful shows. It's because, like all the best TV stars, Garner was able to use the curious intimacy of that smaller screen to make us believe we were seeing both him and the character, and to make us fall in love with both.
With Garner, you have to think that love will endure.

James Garner: an actor of gentle gallantry

By Tim Robey
20 July 2014

James Garner, who died on Saturday at the age of 86, had a career that shuffled from TV to film to TV and back to film with the relaxed, unflappable gait of a cowboy – the type of role he was initially and really always associated with, from his first successes in the series Cheyenne (1955-7) and Maverick (1957-62). As a standalone film star, he caught some good breaks early on – starring opposite Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn in William Wyler’s terrific second adaptation of The Children’s Hour (1961), and as part of the whopping alpha-male line-up in The Great Escape (1963). There, his part as Flight Lt Hendley, the American in the RAF able to procure everything from cameras to ID cards, even threatened to steal the movie away from Steve McQueen. (McQueen was allegedly envious of his strapping co-star’s screen time, and “that goddamn white turtleneck” he was always wearing.)
Though you wouldn’t have guessed it at that moment, Hendley was Garner’s definitive film turn. At 6ft 2, and with his lady-killer looks and bushy eyebrows, Garner certainly wasn’t short of movie-star charisma or sex appeal. But the 1970s were encroaching, and this was a time when male stardom in Hollywood was starting to change: we were entering the era of the craggy (Gene Hackman), sardonic (Jack Nicholson), dangerous (Pacino, De Niro) and downright scrawny (Dustin Hoffman). Garner was almost too good-looking for his own good, a throwback to the Rock Hudson age when square jaws were bankable. He was a natural co-star for a specifically wholesome brand of leading lady – it’s telling that he worked twice with Doris Day (in the 1963 double bill of Move Over, Darling and The Thrill of it All) and three times with Julie Andrews.
The first of these pairings with Andrews, 1964’s cheeky, Paddy Chayefsky-scripted war satire The Americanisation of Emily, he regularly called his favourite film. John Frankenheimer’s expensive racing flick Grand Prix (1966), in which he was the biggest draw, was enough of a hit that stardom still looked like a rosy prospect. But gunfighter roles kept sticking to him. His persona was raffish and easygoing – the bluff, manly flipside to Clint Eastwood’s squinty iconoclasm – at a time when American film viewers were gravitating towards the latter.
TV viewers, not so much. It was natural, then, that Garner slipped back onto the small screen for the bulk of the 1970s, with his six-year stint as the rugged but oddly danger-averse hero of The Rockford Files (1974-80). Re-emerging as a film star was no cinch, despite the success of Victor/Victoria (1982), where the gender-bending let him send up his hetero credentials, moustache and all. Martin Ritt and Sally Field had to fight Columbia Pictures to get him cast in the horse-ranch dramedy Murphy’s Romance (1985) – the studio’s preference was to drag Marlon Brando out of retirement to do it, arguing that Garner was too squarely associated with TV stardom by this point. But the director and leading lady got their way, and the Academy duly awarded Garner with his one and only Oscar nomination for that part.
The film was a significant sleeper hit, but still didn’t quite usher in the major afterlife as a movie star that, say, Bryan Cranston is currently enjoying after Breaking Bad. A lot of Garner’s subsequent work, like his good supporting role in Mel Gibson’s spin-off of Maverick (1994), was very obviously a nod back to his TV roots, but fondly and enjoyably done, like donning a favourite hat for the first time in decades. His old pal Eastwood – they’d had an epic fistfight together in an episode of the show called “Duel at Sundown” (1959) – threw him a nice opportunity as one of the grizzled astronauts in Space Cowboys (2000). And though his role in Robert Benton’s noirish old-timers’ mystery Twilight (1998) was fourth-ranked below Paul Newman, Gene Hackman and Susan Sarandon – he didn’t even make the poster – it was the most interesting part in a neglected movie, and might even have bagged him some supporting-actor kudos had the film been more of a hit.
To a new generation of viewers, he had one last renaissance waiting, as Ryan Gosling’s older self in The Notebook (2004): a very touching performance that serves as a capstone to his career now. It had his stolid affability, his Clark Gable-like charm, and a touch of the rogue, without transgressing civil boundaries. He tipped us a wink with his old devil’s smoothness, but it was also exactly as sentimental as it needed to be. It was a reminder, behind the hearty frame of this Oklahoma jock and ex-soldier, that Garner’s best gift to us was something a little out of fashion – a gentle gallantry.

Israel’s War with the Muslim Brotherhood

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On July 22, 2014 @ 12:55 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 8 Comments

Israeli soldiers ride atop a tank outside the southern Gaza, July 7, 2014. (Baz Ratner)

Despite the cries of furious hipsters waving cardboard signs stained with fake blood, there is no ethnic cleansing going on in Gaza. No more than there was when the US began bombing the Taliban.

The last act of ethnic cleansing took place in the summer of 2005 when the Israeli government gave in to international pressure by forcibly evicting all the Jews from the Gaza Strip. Even the graves were dug up.

The media, which had been up in arms when Israel had evicted 400 Hamas terrorists, had nothing but applause for the forced ethnic cleansing of thousands of Jewish families. The synagogues they left behind were also torched to the applause of the same media now filling the airwaves with fake outrage.

CNN described one synagogue as “very controversial because it is the Jewish synagogue.” The Los Angeles Times wrote of Muslims venting “their fury over the occupation by laying waste to the synagogues.” “Youths set fire to synagogues and other symbols of the hated occupation,” the London Times scribbled. The Age tried for the poetic with “Burning synagogue lights Gaza dawn”.

The Nazi Minister of Propaganda had written under similar circumstances, “I wish to return to my hotel and see a glow as red as blood. The synagogue is burning.” The mainstream media had erased any distinction between themselves and the Kristallnacht propaganda of Joseph Goebbels
The ethnic cleansing of Jews from Gaza made the Hamas takeover possible. The current conflict is rooted in that tragic act of appeasement.

And it wasn’t only the Jews who suffered.

Under Muslim Brotherhood rule, the Christian population of Gaza was cut in half. The Baptists nearly disappeared after a Christian bookstore was bombed twice and its manager was clubbed and shot.

What happened to the Christians of Gaza was the same thing that had been happening to Christians across the Middle East under Islamic rule. While the media is focusing on Gaza, ISIS has just finished ethnically cleansing the Christians of Mosul by demanding that the non-Muslim residents of this Iraqi city convert to Islam, pay Jizya or die.

ISIS is a cousin of Hamas. Both organizations are outgrowths of the Muslim Brotherhood. Its current leader came out of the Muslim Brotherhood and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the man originally behind Al Qaeda in Iraq, was released from a Jordanian prison to win favor with the local Muslim Brotherhood.

When Zarqawi was finally killed, Hamas issued a statement mourning him as “a martyr of the nation.” Protesters in Gaza demanded revenge for his death. The Islamic Action Front, the Brotherhood’s political arm in Jordan, openly expressed its admiration for the mass murderer.

ISIS, Hamas and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood have all driven out Christians in areas under the control of their Jihadists. Hamas’ attacks on Israel are motivated by that same xenophobic impulse.

Hamas is doing to Gaza what ISIS is doing to Mosul, slowly transforming it into a terrorist slum at war with the rest of the world, until it becomes a Qaeda, a base, the Muslim equivalent of a Liberation Theology base community.

Christians, Jews and other minorities cannot survive this process. Their only choices are to flee or fight.

When Israel pulls back after this latest round of fighting, Gaza will be as Muslim as ever. But under Hamas rule, it will not be very long until it is as empty of Christians as it already is of Jews.
And that is real ethnic cleansing.

Genocide isn’t the empty theater played out by Hamas and its media and social media allies. It isn’t terrorist groups launching rockets using human shields and then palming off scenes from Final Destination 4 as Israeli atrocities.

It’s the eradication of an entire minority population. It’s what happens when synagogues and churches vanish and are replaced by mosques.

The ultimate goal of Hamas is envisioned in Article Seven of its charter which looks forward to the genocide of the Jews when “The Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him!’”

Or as the Secretary General of the Muslim Brotherhood had already proclaimed long ago, “The Zionist question is but a Jewish question with all that the word entails.”

Unlike Israel’s surgical strikes at Hamas assets, this is genocide and it is the regional endgame of the Arab Muslim conquerors and colonists.

Hamas is not a persecuted minority lashing out as its oppressors. It is one outpost of a supremacist Sunni Muslim majoritarian organization that is terrorizing minorities across the region. Its mission is to continue the thousand year project of Islamic colonialism to destroy indigenous cultures and religions.

The Jews of Jerusalem, like the Christians of Mosul, happen to be in the way. Hamas’s charter makes its genocidal mission clear. But every Islamist group whose mission is to impose the absolute rule of Islam is equally committed to the ethnic cleansing of non-Muslim and even Muslim populations.

The real genocide in Gaza and throughout the Middle East is being committed by Muslims against non-Muslims with the complicity of Western media and governments. There were no UN resolutions when Jews were ethnically cleansed from Kfar Darom in Gaza and parts of Jerusalem in 1948 by Muslims.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s battalion attacked the village of Kfar Darom and forty-five Israeli militia members protected 400 men, women and children. The Brotherhood’s attacks were beaten back with determined resistance until its Jihadists were forced to retreat leaving behind seventy of their dead.

After the village came under attack from Egyptian armor and air power, it had to be abandoned for decades until Israel liberated the territory on which it had stood. Then the diplomats and reporters  who hadn’t cared about the tiny village before, suddenly declared that Kfar Darom was a settlement and the Jews who lived there were occupiers for resettling the land that Muslims had conquered in 1948.

When Kfar Darom was ethnically cleansed again in 2005, the media and the diplomats cheered. Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar entered the Kfar Darom synagogue and laid claim to it in the name of Islam.

There were no resolutions or boycotts when the Jews were forced out of East Jerusalem in 1948 and the Jewish Quarter was blown up by a Muslim commander who said, “For the first time in 1,000 years not a single Jew remains in the Jewish Quarter.” But when Israel liberated and reunited Jerusalem in 1967, the Jews moving into their own city and one of the oldest cities in the world were denounced as “settlers.”

The international principle that has been adopted universally is that when Muslims conquer a place, it belongs to them permanently, even if they only conquered it a few decades ago. Muslims always have superior rights to Christians, Jews or any other non-Muslim group in their own countries or any country.

This principle acknowledges that that the ethnic cleansing carried out by ISIS or Hamas is legitimate. It enshrines Muslim privilege up to and including the point of genocide. While the media wails over Gaza, Muslim campaigns of ethnic cleansing continue in Syria, Nigeria and Iraq and a dozen other places.

Israel has become a flashpoint in the region because it is the only place where an armed non-Muslim minority has been able to make a stand against Muslim genocide.  Israel has been fighting the forces of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza since right after the Holocaust. Its soldiers are fighting so that the same forces that have been ethnically cleansing the Christians and Jews of the Middle East do not reach Israel.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

The Real 'Forever War'

Palestinian Hamas militants carrying weapons ride on a vehicle during an anti-Israel parade in Gaza City March 10, 2014. Photo by Reuters
In the late 1970’s, the novelist Joe Haldeman wrote one of the better-known science fiction books, “The Forever War.”  The novel is ostensibly about the Vietnam War, at least so the author describes it in the 1997 edition, which he calls the “definitive edition” in the Author’s Note that precedes it (pp. ix).  At the time of its writing (1970+) this war seemed interminable, though at the time of the Author’s Note is had already ended, even if not so much within the heads of some of those who actually took some part.
The problem is, that there really IS a “Forever War” and it is being fought right now – or rather, one of its perennial battles is; perhaps one of its Great Battles, if Europeans do not interfere with a decisive result.
This war began in year 1652 by reckoning of the Hebrew calendar, or 4122 years ago.  This is as close to a definition of “Forever War” as possible.  The war with Hamas began with The Flood.  In that case, the battle was fought directly by the Divine Intervention.  After this great battle, the world knew peace from this concept for a while – until Israel gained its independence on its own land.  Essentially, the world knew quiet from Hamas until King David.
What is Hamas?  The Arabs that perpetrated this “movement” upon the world claim it is an Arabic acronym (“Harkat al-Makuma al-Aslamiya).  The ‘acronym’ was invented after-the-fact.  “Hamas” is a Hebrew word.  It appears many times in the bible.  The first time it appears is in the description of the reason for the Great Flood.
The definition of Hamas is very strange.  To English, it is usually translated as theft. Theft is usually the act of taking something for the purpose of the thief’s wealth.  Hamas is quite different.  The purpose of Hamas is not wealth; it is to cause maximum harm to the other.  In other words, the idea of Hamas is a definition of egregious evil.  Evil for evil’s sake; harm for the sake of causing the other to hurt.
Hamas is discussed 65 times in the bible; of these, thirteen in Psalms (chapters 7, 11, 18, 25, 27, 35, 55, 58, 72, 73, 74 & 140).  The term is consistently used to depict more then ‘just’ an evil impulse, but a general concept of intentionally causing extreme harm to others, for no clear gain by the person or group performing Hamas.  The other uses of the word throughout the bible, in all of its parts, are entirely consistent with this meaning.
David referred to the Philistines as Hamas, and repeatedly begs Heaven for divine intervention.  He doesn’t receive it.  Again, “Hamas” is not ‘simply theft’ it is an expression of evil intent to cause harm.
Historically, we see two pre-conditions for Hamas, Israel in its land and self-governing its land (ignoring that first instance, of the Flood).
A brief glance at the history of this instance of Hamas shows that the organisation rears in 1982, when the population of Israel passed four million, 34 years after self-governance – even evil takes time to ripen.  However, the choice of this ‘telling’ name is equally Divine Intervention and is not “chance”.
What is the evidence that this Hamas is the historical Hamas?  PM Binyamin Netanyahu: “We use missile defence to protect people; they use people to protect missiles.”
A brief review of the recent history shows that in 2005 Israel evacuated every last Jew from the Gaza Strip, even the graves of the dead.  Until the evacuation, the hothouses of the area were worked by Arab labourers and they achieved, at their peak, some one hundred million dollars in agricultural revenue.  Fourteen days after the evacuation, the area had returned to being desert, all the hothouses had been burned to the ground, all of the equipment (worth tens of million of dollars) had been destroyed.
Hamas had not yet taken control of the area and did not govern anything.  Only two years later, in 2007, Hamas took over governing the area, while massacring all the PLO (Palestinian Authority) representatives.  This rump mini-state proceeded to garner billions of dollars of support from various international forums, nations and persons.  All ‘donors’ expected that this money would be used, at least in part (no sane person had any idea that rampant corruption would NOT be practiced) for betterment of the citizens of the area.  In fact, not a penny was spent on civil infrastructure, on work places, on export industry or on ‘defence’.  None of it was spent on weapons for attacking and killing ‘enemy’ soldiers.  Instead, all of it was spent on building a fantastically complex infrastructure for killing civilians, and only civilians.
In their perennial warring on the Israeli villages, towns and cities across the border, they continually fire only at civilians, with a preference for children.  Their main transport infrastructure is based upon use of ambulances to transport bombs and missiles.  They continually use their own citizens as Human Shields – even ordering them to ignore Israeli warning of imminent bombing.  See the testimonials, for instance, of UK Colonel Richard Kemp, both to the BBC and before the United Nations.
The Hamas Charter and Manifesto openly declares that their ultimate objective is annihilation of all Jews, anywhere in the world; not Israelis.  If they were ‘nasty’ only to Israelis, one could perceive them as a military or militant organisation, for instance, to depose and distance those who they perceive as conquerors and interlopers.  If they were ‘nasty’ only to Jews one could try to claim that they are fighting “simply a race war.”  But they are equally cruel to their own folks.
There is no choice, in logic, in absolute facts or in perception but to comprehend that we are speaking of an organisation that perceives ultimate evil, for its own sake, as their primary objective. In fact, historical Hamas.

Once Derek Jeter retires, everything the Yankees dynasty era represents goes with him

You tell me who carries on all the old-Yankee values and traditions at Yankee Stadium once Jeter is gone for good. I used to love it when people used to say that Jeter wasn't a vocal leader with the Yankees. It was never words with him, it isn't words now, it was and is the way he went about his business.

By Mike Lupica
July 21, 2014

American League All-Star Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees at Target Field on July 15, 2014 in Minneapolis, Minnesota (AFP Photo/Rob Carr)

The Yankees had Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams, and for a time it was as storied a five as the Knicks once had in the old days. One by one they all left, and now it is only Jeter left. And when he is gone at the end of this season, the Yankees will go on, the brand of the Yankees will go on, the big business of the Yankees sure will. But more than Jeter's extraordinary career ends when he goes. The extraordinary culture that he and his own storied teammates helped create — or recreate with the Yankees — goes with him.

Oh, we will continue to hear about how the pinstripes and the uniform and the place will transform the new hired guns they bring in. That will happen just by hype and old glory, like the kind we get about Madison Square Garden still being a mecca of basketball after one victory in a playoff series in the past 14 years.

The Yankees have only had one World Series title over those same 14 years, even as they are constantly treated and covered like some sort of sleeping baseball giant about to rise up and roar again. But across that time, they have mostly made the playoffs, even as their old stars have left one by one, and more hired guns have been brought in to replace them.

But once Jeter is gone, there is no one who connects to any of that. There really is no one. It is why the notion that Jeter got too much money in that last contract scrum he had with the Yankees a few years ago was always so chowderheaded, and short-sighted. Or it was just people just thinking and saying what the people running the Yankees wanted them to think and say. You could never properly quantify what Jeter has meant to the brand, and still means.

Tim Duncan will never be treated or considered the way Jeter has been, like that kind of surpassing and iconic star of this time in American sports. Duncan never had New York, never had the Yankees, never was marketed that way because he frankly didn’t want to be. But the two of them are remarkably the same, and not just because they have each won five championships.

Duncan came along in 1997, one year after Jeter became the Yankee starter at shortstop. Only now, after all the winning he has done with the Spurs, he still is part of the Core Three in San Antonio along with Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. They just won another NBA title together a month ago, and thrilled us all the way they did. The supporting cast in San Antonio, incidentally, has been replenished without spending a fortune year after year — after year — on hired guns.
You tell me who carries on all the old-Yankee values and traditions at Yankee Stadium once Jeter is gone for good. I used to love it when people used to say that Jeter wasn't a vocal leader with the Yankees. It was never words with him, it isn't words now, it was and is the way he went about his business and, along with the Core Four Plus Bernie, and Joe Torre, changed the way people thought and felt about the Yankees, whether they were Yankee fans or not.

The current manager of the team is a good guy. CC Sabathia seemed to embrace the culture before he broke down this way, and the back end of his contract became the pitching version of Alex Rodriguez's. We will never know how Robinson Cano's presence and excellence — and the fact that he was actually the first star, homegrown position player since Jeter — would have factored into all of this, because the Yankees chose not to give him 10 years at a time when they gave Jacoby Ellsbury seven.

For now, Jeter gets people to keep coming to the ballpark in numbers commensurate with what the Yankees have drawn in the past, so people can continue operating under the illusion that they are as big and entertaining as ever, when clearly they are not. He gives the Yankees another farewell tour after Mo Rivera's last season.

But this is the last farewell tour that matters at the Stadium. The dynasty ended a long time ago. Those days are gone, the way the big Yankees who helped Jeter win four World Series in five years are long gone. The dynasty effectively ended, as my friend Buster Olney wrote in a book once, with Game 7 of the 2001 World Series against the Diamondbacks.

The Yankee name will always be treated like the royalty of American sports, properly so. It does better these days than the Celtics or Lakers or Dallas Cowboys. The face of that royalty, more than anyone, as much as anybody the Yankees have ever had, has been Jeter.

The Yankees will go on, and will win again. It just won’t be like the winning they got from Jeter and Bernie and Mo, Pettitte and Posada. And Paul O'Neill. There will never again be a time like this. Jeter takes that with him. They can buy a lot at Yankee Stadium, maybe even one more postseason for Derek Jeter.

But when he goes, in all the ways that matter at the Stadium, there is no one.


“The Mike Lupica Show” can be heard Monday through Friday at noon and Sunday at 9 a.m. on ESPN 98.7.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/lupica-derek-jeter-retires-era-dies-article-1.1873488#ixzz386Eqxdj1

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Today's Tune: Bruce Springsteen - "Hunter Of Invisible Game"

Overlooked trait essential to Jeter’s lore

July 19, 2014
Overlooked trait essential to Jeter’s lore
Derek Jeter's warm personality often makes it easy to overlook his toughness.Photo: Charles Wenzelberg
Derek Jeter smiles easily. He is expert at being polite and non-controversial. He connects quickly with children. His fraternity with his peers is unforced and pleasant, whether the exchange is with a Quadruple-A hanger-on or All-Star clubhouse mate.
This all has helped form a public perception of Jeter that, I believe, robs perhaps his greatest attribute as a player — his toughness.
Yep, you don’t think of it quickly with Jeter, not when you have volumes of liners to right field and jump throws from the shortstop hole.
But you don’t come back from a separated shoulder at the earliest possible date without toughness, nor do you fight your way back from two ankle fractures at this late juncture of your career.
On Friday night, Jeter started his 2,610th game at shortstop. That moved him past Omar Vizquel for the most in major league history. It might not be Lou Gehrig or Cal Ripken stuff, and it came and went without confetti and fanfare. But you do not start that many games in the middle infield — all those double-play pivots, etc. — without a sense of responsibility, a reservoir of pride and a steely constitution. The day-after-day mental and physical grind ultimately defeats every athlete. But some endure better than others. And Jeter is at the top 1 percent.
“We all consider rolling over and shutting the alarm clock off,” Joe Torre said by phone. “Jeter never rolls over. He gets out of bed. It is never a consideration to take a day off. It is a sense of responsibility to his team and to himself.”
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Fans cheer on Jeter at Yankee Stadium.Photo: Paul J. Bereswill
I remember a conversation long ago with Gene Michael when he was still the Yankees general manager. We were discussing the traditional five tools — hitting, hitting for power, running, fielding and throwing.
That day I disagreed with the confines of the five tools. I suggested there were so many more than five tools. Aptitude was vital. You could have five tools, but if you couldn’t apply them, what was the use? Victor Martinez might only have two tools, but he has pretty much maximized them. That is so much more valuable than having five that excite scouts but never come out in games with consistency.
Grace under pressure is a tool. Again, you could have the physical stuff down, but if you can’t do it with 40,000 people in attendance or in October, what is the point?
Discipline is a tool. Are you going to keep working out, avoid perks that could drain your energy and skill?
And durability is a tool. Danny Tartabull used to tell me to project his stats over a full season and I finally told him, “Why? You never play a full season.” Mark Buehrle might not be blessed with the stuff that makes scouts drool, but wind him up and he gives you 200 innings. Every year. Year after year.
I remember that conversation with Stick because he agreed with me, and that felt large because of how much I respected his scouting acumen. I often have thought about it since watching Jeter.
Because I believe it is in all these areas beyond the traditional tools that Jeter was an A-plus and took very good traditional tools to a Hall-of-Fame level.
His aptitude, his grace under pressure, his discipline and — for me — especially his toughness.
He refused to discuss injuries. Jeter had the Chili Davis Code: If I am playing, I am healthy enough to play. He never played the “I am 80 percent” game to provide an alibi. Never told you off the record how he was really feeling, again, as a way to set up the excuse. “I’m all right.” That he what he told managers and media.
Jeter felt a responsibility to play, that the team was best when he did. Torre and Joe Girardi have known they could write his name into the lineup game after game, season after season. Do you know how much easier that makes the managing job?
“There was a playoff series in which he had pretty much a broken hand, got shot up for Game 1, couldn’t feel his hand and said he would rather just play with the pain,” Torre said. “There was never a consideration that he wouldn’t play. He came to the ballpark to play. It certainly made my job a whole lot easier. You talk about a guy who is a leader. You have someone who wants to rest, they look across the locker room and see him. He forced other people to play, not literally, but by example.”
Troy Tulowitzki is part of the legion of players to wear No. 2 out of respect and idolization of Jeter. He probably has more “tools” than the prime-aged Jeter. But in his first seven full seasons, Tulowitzki has exceeded 140 games started at short three times and 150 one time. Jeter started at least 148 games in each of his first seven years.
Jeter separated his shoulder in Season Eight, started 118, then started at least 147 games in each of his next seven seasons. Tulowitzki never has exceeded 155 starts at shortstop in a season.
Jeter has 157 starts at short — in the postseason. Yep, he had an entire extra year’s worth of shortstop work in the playoffs that didn’t count toward knocking Vizquel from his mantle.
Next time we talk about Tulowitzki or Jose Reyes succeeding Jeter, let’s remember how fragile both have been. The tools are there, but not always the durability.
Meanwhile, Jeter fell backward into the stands during the 2001 playoffs and marshaled on a damaged player. He famously dove into the stands on July 1, 2004, to make a catch and smashed up his face against the Red Sox. He started the next day.
That is why when he finally broke in the 2012 ALCS it was such a shock — because he went down and couldn’t get up. We assumed it was pretty much for good when 2013 was such a physical disaster for Jeter. But Derek Jeter has a Die Hard ethos. After all those other top shortstops have come and gone — Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Tejada, Nomar Garciaparra — he endures.
Start No. 79 of this season was No. 2,610 of his career. More than anyone ever. That seemed right. It was a number that screamed what Derek Jeter never would:
I am tough.