Friday, October 31, 2008

A TCM Blog Roundup

If you're stressed out by the pending election and would like an escape from wall-to-wall political coverage, I highly recommend that fans of classic movies head over to the Movie Morlocks blog at the Turner Classic Movies website.

To be sure, I don't care for all the posts there -- the (illustrated!) horror movie posts this week aren't my thing -- but over the last few weeks in particular I've come across some outstanding pieces on a variety of topics.

Moirafinnie is my favorite writer at Movie Morlocks, sharing her insights in lengthy, informative posts, such as this biography of actor Brian Donlevy.

Here are some other posts by various Movie Morlocks writers which I found particularly interesting:

...an article on director Frank Borzage, especially his Spencer Tracy-Loretta Young film MAN'S CASTLE, which I recently recorded.

...a review of the new ROAD HOUSE DVD.

...the Chicago locations in CALL NORTHSIDE 777. I reviewed this film in 2006.

...a review of the Joseph Cotten-Jennifer Jones fantasy PORTRAIT OF JENNIE. Many years ago I saw this film in a revival theater -- it was spectacular when the side curtains rolled back and the climactic storm was shown in green-tinted widescreen.

...an essay on another fantasy, MR. PEABODY AND THE MERMAID, starring William Powell and Ann Blyth. I've had a copy of this sitting in my video cupboard which I really need to watch.

...an article on George Bancroft pre-Code films in general, and BLOOD MONEY in particular. I taped BLOOD MONEY when it aired on Fox Movie Channel recently and am looking forward to seeing it.

...a post on Errol Flynn and the new set of Errol Flynn Westerns.

Happy reading...and viewing!

On "Selfishness"

Senator Obama is now defending his "spread the wealth" Socialist philosophies by charging that McCain and Palin are making "a virtue out of selfishness."

That's right, if you want to keep more of your hard-earned money and not have it taken from the government to give to others so "everybody’s got a little more money at the end of the month," you're selfish.

Or maybe you want to control how you give away some of your money yourself. That, of course, is a concept which Obama and Biden know little about, as Power Line reminds us. When it comes to donating to charity, both the Democratic candidates have been, frankly, cheapskates. They're perfectly happy to confiscate everyone else's money to spend on their pet projects, but they don't want to open their checkbooks for worthy causes on their own initiative.

Here's another interesting contrast: remember the Obama campaign snarking about how many houses the McCains own? Well, the McCains have provided an elderly aunt with a home in a condo they own.

Obama's own elderly aunt lives in public housing in a Boston slum.

One candidate talks the talk, but only one walks the walk.

More Election Optimism

Today Rush Limbaugh said, "My gut is starting to talk to me. As you know and as I discussed over the course of the previous week, my gut was not giving me any indication whatsoever, and my gut started talking to me last night. Barack is headed back to Iowa. That should be a lock. It's a dead heat. Sarah Palin headed there on Monday, to Dubuque. Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Nevada -- well throw Pennsylvania out of there -- Florida, Ohio, Nevada, look like pretty good McCain certainties here, pretty good, depending on who you listen to... There's a lot of movement, and even the Drive-Bys are starting to chronicle this."

Tonight, for the first time in weeks, McCain is reported to have pulled into the lead in a national poll. The Drudge Report headlines that the latest Zogby poll shows McCain moving ahead of Obama, 48%-47%.

If you toss out the wildest polls, several others have the race reasonably close or within the margin of error.

John Podhoretz has a great summary, 10 Reasons Why McCain Might Win.

Although the media tried to cast Obama's Iowa stop today as the candidate nostalgically returning to the place where his candidacy started, as Rush notes, it was an interesting choice for the final weekend of the campaign. The McCain campaign claims Iowa is a dead heat, and Obama's campaign schedule probably reflects that that is reality.

Let's face it, the polls are all over the map, and some of them are likely weighted with the intent of demoralizing conservative voters.

Tuesday is the only poll that matters. So McCain-Palin voters, go VOTE!!

Update: Hmmmm. I can possibly understand a desire for a degree of holiday privacy, but Obama running with his costumed daughter to get away from the press on Halloween night does not seem to me to be the action of a happy, comfortable man. Is he stressed out by his internal poll numbers, perhaps? One wonders.

The Obama girls dressed as an evil fairy and a corpse bride.

Governor Palin's youngest children were a snow princess and an elephant. A rather interesting contrast -- happy and cheerful costumes for one family, versus evil and ugly on the other side. Yes, maybe I'm overanalyzing, but it kinda makes you think a bit.

A Dallas Morning News reporter who was bounced from the Obama campaign plane today -- along with reporters from two other papers which had the temerity to endorse McCain -- writes "Nothing says 'morning in America' like 'corpse bride.'"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rush Limbaugh: "The Man Who's Always Right"

London's Daily Telegraph profiled Rush Limbaugh today. It was an interesting read...but what was the writer doing prowling through the bathroom medicine cabinet at Limbaugh's studio?

I never cease to be amazed at Rush's ability to speak extemporaneously in such great detail; I also admire his clarity and ability to get to the essence of issues without talking down to his audience. Unlike some other hosts, he never becomes dull or repetitive. Rush informs, analyzes, entertains, and stimulates critical thinking. And he does it all while gracefully dealing with a major handicap, listening to callers -- and being able to modulate his own voice -- thanks to a cochlear implant, having gone almost completely deaf a few years ago.

Hearing Rush's reassuring voice each morning is one of those things that gives a little extra "zing" to the day. I've been a daily listener for over 16 years, and I hope to listen to him for many years into the future.

2009 Commemorative Postage Stamps

Last week the U.S. Postal Service released information about the first six subjects on their 2009 commemorative stamp schedule.

The 50th anniversary of Alaska statehood will be celebrated with a stamp, as will the sesquicentennial of Oregon statehood.

Other early 2009 stamps will feature Edgar Allan Poe, the Lunar New Year, and black civil rights leaders.

Incidentally, Christmas stamps went on sale last week. This year's "secular" design is of nutcrackers.

Madonna and Child stamps are also available. This year's painting is by Botticelli.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just Scary

From the Columbus Dispatch:

"A state agency has revealed that its checks of computer systems for potential information on 'Joe the Plumber' were more extensive than it first acknowledged.

"Helen Jones-Kelley, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, disclosed today that computer inquiries on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher were not restricted to a child-support system.

"The agency also checked Wurzelbacher in its computer systems to determine whether he was receiving welfare assistance or owed unemployment compensation taxes, she wrote."

Jones-Kelley, who approved the searches, is a maxed-out Obama donor.

She also said, "Given our understanding that Mr. Wurzelbacher had publicly indicated that he had the means to purchase a substantial business enterprise, ODJFS, consistent with past departmental practice, checked confidential databases.

"Not surprisingly, when a person behind in child support payments or receiving public assistance is receiving significant media attention which suggests that the person appears to have available financial resources, the Department risks justifiable criticism if it fails to take note and respond."

Just...wow. She had no probable cause to think he was behind on child support...she just decided that since he asked a candidate a question -- which made her preferred candidate look bad -- that she would bring the power of the state to bear and make life uncomfortable for Joe.

Not to mention that of course some of his personal info was leaked to the media.

Those of us old enough to remember the Soviet Union and other regimes will find this kind of thing uncomfortably familiar...you don't challenge the State or you and your family will pay. Senator Obama may not have personally ordered these searches, but his party members' actions are all part and parcel of his affinity for state control and silencing those who raise questions.

Previously: Government Computers Used to Research Joe the Plumber.

A Half Century of Breakfast at Tiffany's

USA Today ran a fun piece today on the phenomenon that is BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S.

The Truman Capote story is now 50 years old, while the film version just turned 47.

I've only seen the film once, and while I appreciated the theme music and the visual "look" of the movie, I can't say it really wowed me as it does other viewers. I'm always open to re-evaluating it in the future, however...

Delmar Watson: Child Actor, Photographer

Delmar Watson, a member of a large family of child actors who later became a highly regarded news photographer, has passed away at the age of 82.

Watson had at least 65 film credits. His roles included Heidi's friend Peter in the Shirley Temple version of HEIDI (1937) and one of the Hopper boys in MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939). Three of Watson's real-life brothers played his brothers in the latter film.

The best-known of the Watson children might be Bobs, who had a leading role as Pee Wee in BOYS TOWN (1938). Billy, Garry, Harry, Louise, Gloria, and Coy were the other members of the family who acted. Only Vivian seems to have no film credits.

Four of the brothers served as Coast Guard cameramen during World War II. According to the Los Angeles Times: "After the war, all six brothers worked as press, newsreel or television photographers. In the 1940s and '50s, a Watson brother could be found at four of the five Los Angeles metropolitan dailies. The brothers were such infamous pranksters that no newspaper would hire more than one at a time because they feared mayhem would ensue, according to several accounts of the family's history."

The Watson Family Photographic Archive is a fascinating website, headlined "Ten Photographers! One Family! One City! One Century!" The site includes photographs and family biographies.

An older website is here.

Lauren Graham Hits Broadway

Lauren Graham, longtime star of GILMORE GIRLS, is heading for Broadway.

Graham will star as Miss Adelaide in the revival of the musical GUYS AND DOLLS, which opens in February.

Oliver Platt (THE WEST WING) costars as Nathan Detroit.

GUYS AND DOLLS marks Graham's Broadway debut.

Reasons For Election Optimism

The race is unmistakably tightening in the polls.

Rasmussen, Gallup, Battleground and IBD/TIPP all now have the race within the margin of error.

I take polls with a grain of salt, especially considering how many historically tend to be off when it comes to Republican candidates, but the general trend this week seems to be good news.

Brit Hume Readies for Semi-Retirement

Brit Hume, anchor of my favorite TV program, SPECIAL REPORT WITH BRIT HUME, is preparing to retire from the show after the election.

Brit will continue to occasionally appear as a commentator on the network.

Discussing the reasons for his retirement, Brit says, "Family is a big piece of it. And Christ is a big piece of it. And golf is a big piece of it."

Brit, who says he became a more committed Christian after his son Sandy's death a decade ago, intends to spend more time studying the Bible.

More on Brit's upcoming departure from Politico.

I'll miss Brit very much, but wish him a long and happy retirement -- and I also hope he'll turn up to share his insights on Fox with regularity!

Update: More Articles Saluting Brit Hume.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Around the Blogosphere Today

Dick Morris writes he believes the undecided voters will break for Senator McCain and that McCain continues to have a solid chance of winning the election. (Click title of this post for article.)

Some other interesting reads today:

McCain's Pollster Foresees Tight Race on Election Night: Published at The Hill. Interesting analysis.

Obi-Wan on the State of Play, Eight Days Out: Jim Geraghty's anonymous senior Republican mentor, known to readers as Obi-Wan, offered his assessment yesterday on the state of the race. Basically he feels it comes down to this week's stock market and undecided voters. More from Obi-Wan here.

Obama Affinity to Marxists Dates to College Days: Bill Sammon, Deputy Managing Editor at Fox News, quotes Obama from DREAMS FROM MY FATHER: "I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists."

Smearing Joe the Plumber: John Hinderaker at Power Line. Hopefully Joe will sue those who snooped into his government files. The Ohio official who approved a search is especially creepy: she's a maxed-out Obama donor.

Obama In His Own Words: An excellent list posted at Semicolon.

Senator Obama's Four Tax Increases for People Earning Under $250K: Ned Barnett at American Thinker. I don't know about you, but our taxes will go way up if the "Bush tax cuts" expire. Senator Obama may pretend that's not a tax hike, but in the real world, it's a huge new tax burden.

ABC Out of Obama Half-Hour Campaign Ad: I hope PUSHING DAISIES gets its biggest-ever ratings...seriously, is there any chance that rather than being what Obama perceives as a final victory push, flooding multiple channels with a 30-minute infomercial will turn off or even "creep out" some voters? I wonder if some people will be asking themselves if they really want to listen to this overexposed candidate for the next four years. And I suspect East Coast baseball fans will not be too happy to have the World Series -- which already starts later than is reasonable -- pushed back due to Obama's speech.

Media's Presidential Bias and Decline: A remarkable indictment of the campaign coverage by an ABC journalist.

Sources: Like Orlando, Biden Bans Philadelphia Station After Tough Interview: The Obama campaign is nothing if not arrogant. And more than a little scary when someone in the press isn't assisting with the coronation.

I suspect Megyn Kelly of Fox News is going to end up on a "banned" list too. You go, girl!

McCain to L.A. Times: Release Obama Video

Senator John McCain's campaign has called for the Los Angeles Times to release the video being suppressed by the paper which shows Senator Obama toasting Rashid Khalidi, who supports terrorists and was the spokesman for Yasser Arafat.

Bill Ayers was also in attendance at the party.

The Times has thus far refused to release the tape to the public.

The only possible explanation for the paper not making the tape public and letting the facts -- and the votes -- fall where they may is that the paper believes it will hurt Senator Obama's election chances.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dean Barnett Passes Away, Age 41

Blogger and radio host Dean Barnett has passed away today at the age of 41, due to complications of cystic fibrosis.

Bill Kristol made the announcement at The Weekly Standard.

So very sad. He will be missed.

Previously: Dean Barnett Update.

Update: Hugh Hewitt: "Farewell, Dean."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Obama Bombshell: Warren Court Not Liberal Enough Because It Didn't Redistribute Wealth

Click the title of this post to hear a 2001 recording of Barack Obama musing that the Warren Supreme Court was not really very radical, because -- unfortunately in his eyes -- it didn't address the need for the redistribution of wealth.

If there was any doubt at all about Barack Obama's desire to radically make over our nation as a Socialist country, and his willingness to use the courts to do it, that doubt is now gone.

In the tape Obama talks about the Court not breaking free "of the constraints placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution" and about his desire to bring about "major redistributive change" -- which he's "not optimistic" will be brought about via the courts. (Hmmm, so maybe he thinks that can be brought about via the Presidency with a liberal Congress?)

The transcript is here.

He says that one of the "tragedies" of the civil rights movement is that it didn't bring about "redistributed change."

This is terribly scary stuff considering this is the man who wants to be elected to the office which is charged with preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution.

Coming on the heels of his talk with Joe the Plumber, I would think that this even more radical confirmation of Obama's plans for our nation will have an impact on voters.

The question is, with a week to go before the election, will enough Americans be paying attention and understand the threat this man poses to our nation?

Monday Update: If one reads Obama's words closely, there's even more cause for concern. More analysis from National Review Online and Ed Morrissey.

And once again, this tape was dug up by a single citizen, rather than reporters, who are preoccupied with weighty matters such as who's paying for Governor Palin's wardrobe.

Senator Obama's campaign, as they do whenever they don't like questions raised about the candidate, has dismissed the tape as "just another distraction." That phrase is pretty worn out by now.

Tonight's Movie: Mad About Music (1938)

Gloria Harkinson (Deanna Durbin) attends a charming Swiss boarding school, but she doesn't have a father and hasn't seen her American movie star mother Gwen (Gail Patrick) in several years. Gwen's manager has convinced Gwen that if the public believes she's old enough to have a teenage daughter, she'll lose her career and her ability to support her daughter.

Lonely Gloria can't talk about her mother, so she makes up stories for her classmates about having a father who is a world explorer; when circumstances demand that Gloria produce a "real" father on the spot, she snags a man getting off a train -- who is none other than urbane, delightfully bemused Herbert Marshall. Being Herbert Marshall, of course he finds himself going along with Gloria's charade. Before too long he finds himself taking a genuine paternal interest in Gloria. Then Gloria's mother comes to Europe...

The plot is rather far-fetched, but it's all in good fun, and the actors -- especially Durbin and Marshall -- are wonderful. The production crew obviously never set foot off the back lot, but the film nonetheless conveys a great sense of "place" with its gingerbread-house depiction of Switzerland. Deanna sings "Ave Maria," "Chapel Bells," and "I Love to Whistle," among other tunes, and she also proves herself to be adept at both comedy and drama.

Deanna Durbin's films were always top of the line, including the supporting casts. The cast of MAD ABOUT MUSIC includes Arthur Treacher (marvelous as Marshall's confidential secretary), Franklin Pangborn, William Frawley, Elisabeth Risdon, and Nana Bryant. Helen Parrish, who also appeared with Durbin in THREE SMART GIRLS GROW UP and FIRST LOVE, is effective as Felice, a student who is Gloria's nemesis.

Marcia Mae Jones, who plays Gloria's best friend Olga, is one of my favorite child actresses. One of Jones's earliest film appearances was as Nanny, the little girl being starved in NIGHT NURSE (1931), reviewed here. Jones's delicate features and sweet, fragile nature served her well in classic films such as William Wyler's THESE THREE (1936), in which she played Rosalie, the student bullied by Bonita Granville, and the Shirley Temple version of HEIDI (1937), in which she played wheelchair-bound Clara. Jones also played mean Lavinia opposite Temple in A LITTLE PRINCESS (1939) and was Cousin Mary in David O. Selznick's filming of THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER (1938). Jones had small parts in two more Durbin films, FIRST LOVE and NICE GIRL?

Marcia Mae Jones passed away a year ago at the age of 83. You can read a most interesting interview with her at the Classic Images website.

MAD ABOUT MUSIC was directed by Norman Taurog. It runs 100 minutes.

MAD ABOUT MUSIC can be seen on video.

Previous reviews of Deanna Durbin movies: FIRST LOVE (1939), HIS BUTLER'S SISTER (1943), NICE GIRL? (1941), FOR THE LOVE OF MARY (1948), and BECAUSE OF HIM (1946).

Update: MAD ABOUT MUSIC is now available on DVD.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

TCM News

Alec Baldwin has been named the cohost of the next season of THE ESSENTIALS, TCM's Saturday night showcase of top classic movies.

The season starts in March.

You could say I'm unenthused about this pick, to put it mildly. Fortunately the movies shown in this series are so well-known that typically I've already seen those films which interest me.

Much more exciting news is a special coming up on TCM in December: THE AGE OF BELIEVING: THE DISNEY LIVE-ACTION CLASSICS. It premieres on TCM on Sunday, December 14th.

The Disney special will be narrated by Angela Lansbury. Participants include Dick Van Dyke, Kurt Russell, Lesley Ann Warren, Tim Conway, Dean Jones, and Disney/film historian Leonard Maltin.

TCM will devote Sundays in December to many Disney live-action films, including THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON, OLD YELLER, POLLYANNA, THE PARENT TRAP, 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, THE ABSENT-MINDED PROFESSOR, BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS, and many more.

Justice Dept. to Investigate Ohio Voter Fraud?

President Bush has forwarded to the Justice Department House Minority Leader John Boehner's request to investigate potential voter fraud in Ohio. Ohio, of course, is where the Secretary of State is refusing to investigate 200,000 ballots which can't be cross-checked with other state databases.

The chairman of the Republican Party in Ohio says "The secretary of state seems to be engaged in an effort to conceal election fraud." With all the phony registrations produced by ACORN in multiple states, it's a particular concern this year.

The Justice Department might also want to investigate the 13 Obama staffers who just pulled their voter registrations and ballots under threat of prosecution. The staffers included campaign spokespeople and an out-of-state attorney.

Video on the story can be seen at Palestra.

The young reporters at Palestra also uncovered an Ohio "Voter Fraud House" where 13 out-of-state students registered so that they could illegally vote in Ohio. The students' ballots have been cancelled.

Fred Thompson on the Choice Facing America

Thanks to J.C. of The Shelf for the tip on Senator Fred Thompson's new video.

Head over to The Shelf to view it. (Click title of this post.) It's somewhat long but very eloquent.

Update: Thomas Sowell is also an excellent read. He addresses the refusal of Obama supporters to address the facts regarding their preferred candidate.

Late Update: More "don't miss" reading from Charles Krauthammer and Mark Levin.

Congress to Raid University Endowment Funds?

After Congress gets done taking away our 401(k)'s -- if plans under discussion in Congress indeed come to pass -- it looks like university endowment funds are also going to be targeted by Congress as a rich potential source of government income.

George Will has the details.

Laura (Bush) Visits a Little House

Earlier this month First Lady Laura Bush visited Rocky Ridge Farm, site of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum near Mansfield, Missouri. Mrs. Bush and I are both lucky to share the name of one of our favorite authors. :)

Rocky Ridge is now part of the Save America's Treasures project, which Mrs. Bush explains in her remarks. (Click title of post for her speech.)

(Hat tip: Only Laura.)

Rocky Ridge is where Laura wrote the Little House series of books. I've been fortunate to visit twice, both as a child and again in the early '90s. On the latter trip I was also able to visit the Little House on the Prairie site near Independence, Kansas. What a thrill to see the Verdigris River and the location of Pa's well! There's a replica cabin at the site as well, which gives visitors a real feel for what it must have been like when the Ingalls family lived there.

It's thus very disturbing to learn that the heirs of Ed Friendly, producer of the LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE TV series, have sued the non-profit museum at the site for using the name LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE.

It's hard to fathom the greed that would cause the company to sue the actual site for using the very name Laura gave it!

You can listen to a story about the lawsuit at NPR.

Previous Little House posts: The Real Little Town on the Prairie, Children's Literature in the Weekly Standard, Little House Books: No Illustrations More 'Relevant'?, Little House Music Lives On, Little House: The Musical, A Little House Roundup, Melissa Gilbert to Play Ma in Little House Musical, and Entertainment News Roundup.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Government Computers Used to Research Joe the Plumber

This is really disturbing: in the days following the last Presidential debate, three different Ohio government agencies pulled plumber Joe Wurzelbacher's DMV info.

His records were pulled by the Ohio Attorney General's Office, the Toledo Police Department, and the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency.

It doesn't seem possible that all of these agencies had legitimate reasons to simultaneously be researching Joe after his name appeared in the news. Investigations are underway.

Who did the snooping, and who received the information?

Remember that funny-but-true line the other day about Obama revealing his Socialism and then there being a demand to see the questioning citizen's papers, referring to the endless media scrutiny of the "upstart" plumber? It was more true than we knew at the time.

Is this what awaits American citizens who dare to question liberal politicians in the future?

Just...wow.

Joe says he'll be "scared for America" if Obama wins.

Me too.

Saturday Update: Ed Morrissey: "Thirty-five years ago, a group of Plumbers did the same kind of thing in a presidential election, and it changed American politics forever. This smells of the same kind of Nixonian tactics."

Barack Obama In His Own Words: Race Baiting Socialism

Click the title of this post to listen to a 1995 interview with Barack Obama in which he talks about "responsibility," "whether you are a white executive out in the suburbs who doesn't want to pay taxes to inner city children for them to go to school..."

That's right, if you don't want to pay more taxes, you're a racist who has something against little black children getting an education.

I think we're getting a pretty good idea now why Senator Obama remained in Jeremiah Wright's congregation for over two decades.

Then, in another clip, Senator Obama gives an entirely new spin to redistribution of wealth: it's for his personal salvation, as well as the salvation of the country -- or more specifically, from the complete context of his comments, African-Americans:

"My individual salvation is not going to come about without a collective salvation for the country. Unfortunately I think that recognition requires that we make sacrifices and this country has not always been willing to make the sacrifices necessary to bring about a new day and a new age."

I can't find that prescription for salvation in my copy of the New Testament...unfortunately it seems that Reverend Wright may have been too busy cursing and stirring up hatred and racial divisions to bother with educating his congregation about the Bible.

I think Obama's vision of "a new day and a new age" is something I'd just as soon skip, and so would many other Americans.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Democrats to Kill 401(k) Accounts?!

This has to be the scariest thing I've read yet about a possible all-Democrat government: the end of 401(k) investing.

Powerful House Democrats are considering removing all existing 401(k) tax breaks -- goodbye, matching employer contributions! -- and forcing Americans to contribute to a second level of Social Security instead. (Bet you haven't heard about this one from the "Elect Obama" mainstream media...)

Details from Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:

"...your employer can no longer write off their contributions to your 401(k), and your capital gains would be taxable year-on-year. In other words, it becomes just another investment or savings account, with no tax benefit at all, and no employer contribution. Instead, Uncle Sam would give you your 'matching' funds — up to a whopping $600 per year! Whoopee!

"As Michelle Obama says, you could buy a pair of earrings every year … except, of course, you can’t. It’s in The Lockbox, defined by politicians as Locked Away from You but Accessible to Us. It goes there along with 5% of your gross earnings, apparently to play with the 7% of your gross earnings that already goes to Social Security. And what do they do with the money? They give you government bonds as your only investment option."

More:

"The Democrats want to end the private retirement system that has allowed Americans to become a vast investor class and put them back in thrall of the federal government. This is nothing more than a second welfare system that would sit on top of the crumbling Social Security entitlement. It would leave the American working and middle classes with no retirement option other than a government handout.

"If the Democrats control both Congress and the White House, kiss your 401(k)s goodbye, and get into the bread lines first before the crowd arrives."

Senator McCain needs to be hitting this issue hard in ads, starting immediately. A Republican Presidential veto pen is the only thing which can stop this plan from taking place.

Unfortunately, given the current state of the market and everyone's 401(k) plans, the issue may not have the same resonance it would normally have, but voters should also be reminded that historically market dips have always been temporary...always.

Like a lot of Americans, our 401(k), and the generous matching contributions by my husband's employer, provides much of our financial security. If Democrats take that away and instead tax us more for "a new system of guaranteed retirement accounts to which all workers would be obliged to contribute," it would be devastating, not only for American workers everywhere, but for the American economy.

Friday Update: James Taranto of Opinion Journal: "Eyeing Your Pension: Are 401(k)s Safe From Congressional Democrats?"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Kirsten Powers on Media Bias

Kirsten Powers is that rare thing, an honest liberal working in the media. In her new New York Post column Kirsten discusses media bias, particularly when it comes to the media letting Joe Biden coast while Sarah Palin is maligned on a daily basis.

It's hard to imagine media bias could get worse than the year of Rathergate, but the bias is absolutely off the charts now. For instance, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News takes away from Joe Biden's warning that Obama's election would precipitate an immediate crisis, testing the inexperienced President, that Obama has "a spine of steel," completely ignoring any context or concerns.

Drew Griffin's outright lie to Governor Palin's face, claiming that National Review had said she was inept and incompetent, was one of the most blatant examples of journalistic malpractice I've ever seen.

Even Fox News is getting into the act, as the Special Report roundtable ignores positive polls, buying into the spin that Obama has an almost insurmountable lead. They say McCain still has a chance, but there's always a "but" following that statement.

One study shows that only 14 percent of McCain's press coverage has been positive, compared to 36% for Obama.

Previously: Kirsten Powers: How Obama Blew It.

Thursday Update: Thanks to Holley for mentioning another interesting article by a Democrat newspaper columnist, Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?

Obama Is Not Inevitable

Members of the media are doing their best to convince the American public that an Obama landslide is inevitable.

However...the AP has the race even today, with 44 percent for Obama and 43 percent for McCain.

Yesterday the Battleground poll also had it even, 48% Obama versus 47% McCain.

Today's IBD/Tipp poll shows a tightening race. (Thursday Update: This poll has tightened further, to a one-point spread.)

Of course, it's going to come down to the states. Curiously, Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania is begging the Obama campaign to come back.

At least two polls, Rasmussen and Mason-Dixon, have McCain pulling ahead in Florida.

McCain has also pulled ahead in Ohio in the Rasmussen poll.

If the media weren't so busy campaigning and covering up for Senator Obama and Senator Biden, this election wouldn't even be close.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tonight's Movie: Dr. Monica (1934)

DR. MONICA is a deliciously soapy, compulsively watchable melodrama featuring Kay Francis in the title role.

Dr. Monica Braden is an incredibly chic obstetrician, thanks to gowns by Orry-Kelly. Monica desperately wants to have a baby of her own, but she and her husband John (Warren William) have been unable to conceive.

When Monica delivers the baby of an unwed friend, Mary (Jean Muir), she learns the terrible truth which the audience has known from the beginning of the movie: the father of Mary's baby is Monica's husband, John. (I couldn't help but mentally flash forward to Dr. Lesley Webber delivering a different Monica's baby on GENERAL HOSPITAL, circa 1979; maybe the TV scriptwriters were Kay Francis fans. Or maybe it's simply a classic soapy plot device...)

DR. MONICA was released just as the pre-Code era was coming to a close in 1934. The film was originally 65 minutes, but was edited down to 53 minutes for censorship reasons. (A couple brief moments from the original print can be viewed in the trailer.) Even so, the edited version is quite a bit more frank about adultery and unmarried pregnancy than was typical of films in the decades which followed.

The story is tame by today's standards, but parental caution is advised with regard to the younger set, who may not have been exposed to the mature themes addressed in the film; viewed with parents, the movie could, in fact, be used as a teaching tool. I liked a brief, subtle scene in which Monica makes clear to Mary that giving her baby life is the only option she should consider.

Kay Francis is marvelous in the title role, as a smart, warm-hearted woman who soldiers bravely on in the face of devastating news. Few people played a cad better than Warren William, although he's a relatively nice cad in this film. Muir's character is by turns irritating, melodramatic, and sympathetic; ultimately she makes Mary memorable.

The film is somewhat unique for its era insofar as two of the leading female characters were professional women. Verree Teasdale portrays Monica's spirited, helpful best friend, an architect. In 1935 Teasdale married Adolphe Menjou; they were married until his death in 1963. Teasdale passed away in 1987.

DR. MONICA was directed by William Keighley and an uncredited William Dieterle.

DR. MONICA can be seen as part of the library on Turner Classic Movies.

Monday, October 20, 2008

An Encouraging Poll Flashback

An October 17, 2004 headline: "Poll Suggests Kerry Has Lead in Swing States."

From the article: "...a Washington Post poll shows Kerry with a significant lead in important states that could decide the outcome of the election. The poll found Kerry held a 53 per cent to 43 per cent lead among likely voters in 13 such states."

I've seen any number of similar "flashback" polls posted recently at Free Republic. They're a timely reminder that not only is polling inaccurate, but there's no doubt that the media and the Democratic Party use polling to attempt to influence the election.

Ann Coulter in her last column: "Reviewing the polls printed in The New York Times and The Washington Post in the last month of every presidential election since 1976, I found the polls were never wrong in a friendly way to Republicans. When the polls were wrong, which was often, they overestimated support for the Democrat, usually by about 6 to 10 points."

It's also interesting to note a poll from earlier this year: in the New Hampshire primary Obama was leading Clinton 37% to 30% in the final Rasmussen poll. He lost. He had a history of underperforming relative to his polls throughout the primaries.

Matthew Continetti writes today at the Weekly Standard: "Pundits Prematurely Declare Victory for Obama."

It ain't over till it's over, and this race is definitely not over.

Biden: Obama Election Will Cause International Crisis

Senator Joe Biden is promising that if Senator Barack Obama is elected, he will be "tested" within six months of taking office:

"Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate."

So...if we take Senator Obama's running mate at his word, why don't we skip the testing of an inexperienced man and elect Senator McCain for President?

Biden certainly seems to make that case.

Update: Ed Morrissey agrees: "Isn’t this an argument for electing someone with more experience? Why should we elect a man who will embolden our enemies and push us to the brink of disaster? Biden seems convinced that electing John McCain will make our enemies abroad much less sanguine about provoking us — which is one of the best arguments yet heard for electing McCain."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Steyn on Saturday

Your Mark Steyn fix for the weekend...today Steyn writes "Plumber Joe Didn't Go With the Flow."

Obama's disdainfully snarky references to Joe the Plumber on the campaign trail the other day, implying that -- unlike teachers or fire fighters -- he's not someone worth "fighting" for, once again showed Senator Obama as an arrogant elitist.

I loved this Steyn post at The Corner last night, quoting Jim Treacher: "The whole 'He's not a licensed plumber!' non sequitur is really fantastic. So, if you happen to be standing in front of Obama when he publicly reveals his socialism, what does the media do? Demands to see your papers. That's just delicious, is what that is."

Socialism. Coming to America?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Dean Barnett Update

Blogger and radio host Dean Barnett continues to fight life-threatening complications of cystic fibrosis.

Dean is critically ill but the news continues to be cautiously optimistic. He could sure use continued prayers.

Previously: Pray for Dean Barnett.

Today at Disneyland: Halloween Time 2008

Today the College Girl was home to celebrate her birthday, so we headed out to Disneyland to check out this year's Halloween Time decorations:


Fall flowers at Town Square:


Disney Clothiers decked out for October:


We enjoyed checking out the new Fortuosity Shop on Main Street:


The old-fashioned Market House on Main Street is one of my favorite stores in the park:


Woody's Roundup returned again this year:


Big Thunder Ranch is decorated with pumpkin lanterns hanging amidst the pine trees:


Beautiful fall flowers at the Hub:


The Fire Station at Town Square in the late afternoon sun:


Previous Halloween Time Posts and Photos: September 29, 2006, September 30, 2006, October 21, 2006, September 28, 2007, and October 12, 2007.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

El Cholo's Carmen Rocha Passes Away, Age 77

El Cholo has always been an important part of our family traditions...I couldn't possibly count the times I've eaten at both the Los Angeles and La Habra locations. I particularly associate eating at the Los Angeles El Cholo with our trips to see classic movies at various locations in the '70s and '80s.

I was saddened to learn that longtime waitress Carmen Rocha has passed away. Carmen and El Cholo are both such Los Angeles institutions -- she worked there for nearly four decades -- that her photo and obituary headline were published at the top of the front page of the Los Angeles Times website. This photo is from an El Cholo souvenir postcard.

Carmen is credited with introducing nachos to Los Angeles.

She spent many, many years making people's days just that much nicer. A life well lived.

Previously: Tonight's Dinner; Weekend Fun: El Cholo and the Galen Center; Southern California Restaurant News.

An Interview with Joe the Plumber

This is a very interesting interview with the man who just might have changed the course of the election.

Joe Wurzelbacher is a very articulate, intelligent man who is also comfortable saying what he doesn't know. He clearly expresses why Senator Obama's Socialist plan to "spread the wealth around" is bad for the economy and un-American to boot.

My favorite line though, was this: "My American Dream was to have a house, a dog, a couple rifles, a bass boat...making a good living and being able to provide for my family, college for my son."

Sounds like a great American to me.

Update: Ed Morrissey on how the left and the media have done their utmost to destroy Joe and his life today:

"We have people crawling over his tax records, his voter registration, his professional licensing, and whatever else they can find in the public record. Someone has linked him to the long-deceased Charles Keating, suggesting that somehow Obama managed to pick a McCain plant out of a ropeline full of people by accident. How much longer before a certain blogger at The Atlantic demands a paternity test to see if Joe the Plumber fathered Sarah Palin’s baby — or Bristol’s, for that matter?

"There is a stench of desperation surrounding this, as if they sense defeat coming from a moment of honesty from Obama about his real intentions to institute a regime of redistribution. They want to discredit the man who only asked the question as if he’s some political operative who magically forced Obama to sound … well, a little like a Marxist. Why? They want to distract people from Obama’s answer by sliming the man Obama picked at random to ask a question."

More:

"The...Media seems to feel that they have a duty to expose every last part of Wurzelbacher’s life, but that asking Obama to explain his political partnerships with Tony Rezko and William Ayers, and his long friendship and financial support of rabid demagogues Jeremiah Wright and Michael Pfleger, are not just out of bounds but downright racist."

Update: Michelle Malkin: "The Left Declares War on Joe the Plumber."

The media has put more effort into the investigating of Joe the Plumber in the last couple days than they've bothered to do on Senator Obama, Jeremiah Wright, and William Ayers in the last couple years...it's yet one more illustration of the campaign by Obama and his media enablers to squelch dissent.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

McCain Wins Final Debate

Senator McCain did an outstanding job tonight...this is the energized, on-point performance I was hoping we'd see last time around.

The Fox News Panel is suffering from an extreme case of Beltway-itis...they sure didn't see the same debate I saw. Fred Barnes said McCain's base would be disappointed? And Charles Krauthammer actually said it was a draw and therefore Obama won. Hel-lo?

Brit Hume inexplicably said there weren't any memorable soundbites. The entire concept of Joe the Plumber is the soundbite...and I think Joe just might be the game changer McCain needed to win the election.

Update: Welcome to readers of Holy Coast. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Holy Coast blog, written by Rick Moore, I highly recommend it for frequently updated news and commentary, with train photos and music on the side.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Christmas Music: Sarah Brightman

Sarah Brightman's new Christmas album, A WINTER SYMPHONY, will be released November 4, 2008.

The tracks include "In the Bleak Midwinter," "Silent Night," "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," and two versions of "Ave Maria."

A decade ago Brightman appeared on the excellent album A GALA CHRISTMAS IN VIENNA with Placido Domingo. I loved her rendition of "First of May."

Previous Christmas Music 2008 posts: Kristin Chenoweth and Harry Connick Jr.

A New Look at Power Line

Wow, this will take some getting used to after all these years!

Some of the info about their new website is here.

Incidentally, like me, Paul Mirengoff is befuddled by Lopes and Bowa coaching for the Phillies and Dodgers, respectively.

He asks: "Aren't Larry Bowa and Davey Lopes wearing the wrong uniforms? If not, can't the Dodgers and Phillies make a quick trade?"

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tonight's Movie: Because of Him (1946)

One good Deanna Durbin movie deserves another, so I followed up last night's film, FOR THE LOVE OF MARY (1947), with Deanna's 1946 romantic comedy BECAUSE OF HIM.

BECAUSE OF HIM finds Our Girl Deanna as Kim Walker, an aspiring actress. Kim is not above unethical conniving in order to secure an interview with a Broadway producer, but because it's Deanna Durbin, we know she's really a nice girl at heart and not an early version of Eve Harrington.

Kim is aiming for the lead in the new play starring great Broadway actor John Sheridan (Charles Laughton), but the playwright, Paul Taylor (Franchot Tone) disapproves of Kim and vows to keep her out of his show. You can probably guess how that ends up...

BECAUSE OF HIM is an enjoyable film, though not on a level with the other Durbin films I've seen thus far. It focuses a bit too much on Laughton's character; his scenery-chewing is amusing, but I would have preferred more of Durbin and Tone instead. Tone, in particular, has a relatively small amount of screen time in the film's first hour. Laughton is deliberately hammy, but he also has some nice serious moments where he allows the real person underneath the legendary actor persona to show through.

Deanna doesn't do a great deal of singing in BECAUSE OF HIM, but she makes the most of each musical opportunity, including the lovingly photographed, emotional "Danny Boy" and a delightful duet with a recording of Rodgers and Hart's "Lover." She has the opportunity to display her considerable comic flair, and for good measure she looks beautiful in gowns by Travis Banton.

This was Durbin and Tone's third and final film together, following NICE GIRL? (1941) and HIS BUTLER'S SISTER (1943); both movies are excellent, but I found HIS BUTLER'S SISTER extra-special, with a lovely, sensitively developed romance.

The supporting cast includes Helen Broderick (TOP HAT, SWING TIME), Donald Meek, and Mary Field. The film was shot in black and white and runs 88 minutes.

BECAUSE OF HIM was directed by Richard Wallace. Several of Wallace's films have been previously reviewed here, including MAN OF THE WORLD (1931), WEDDING PRESENT (1936), THE YOUNG IN HEART (1938), and BRIDE BY MISTAKE (1944). Wallace, one of the founding members of the Directors Guild, was only 57 when he passed away in 1951.

This movie can be seen on VHS.

Update: BECAUSE OF HIM is now available on DVD.

Waiting for Indictments

I'm sure wondering when the Justice Department is going to start prosecuting ACORN for voter fraud.

The latest in a very long string of stories comes from Indiana, where ACORN turned in 5000 voter registrations. Indiana authorities stopped processing the registrations after 2100, as every single one was fraudulent.

Update: The Wall Street Journal on "Obama and Acorn."

Barack Obama, Socialist

Senator Obama has made it crystal clear he believes in redistributing income from those who earn it to those who don't:

From Fox News:

"Barack Obama told a tax-burdened plumber over the weekend that his economic philosophy is to 'spread the wealth around'...

"'Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn't it?'" the plumber asked, complaining that he was being taxed 'more and more for fulfilling the American dream.'

'It's not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they've got a chance for success too,' Obama responded. 'My attitude is that if the economy's good for folks from the bottom up, it's gonna be good for everybody ... I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody.'

Yep, let's all work harder to achieve success so that our money can be "spread around."

I don't think so.

Rush Limbaugh spent most of the day today discussing the devastation an Obama Administration and Democratic Congress would wreak on the economy. It was not a pretty picture.

Update: Ed Morrissey comments and has video of the exchange.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Is Anyone Else...

...as confused as I am keeping straight that Larry Bowa is a Dodgers coach and Davey Lopes is a Phillies coach?

Baseball fans will understand that some things just don't seem right, even if it's been over 30 years since they first faced each other in the playoffs!

Tonight's Movie: For the Love of Mary (1948)

FOR THE LOVE OF MARY is a delightful romantic comedy which finds Deanna Durbin starring in the title role as Mary Peppertree, a White House switchboard operator.

Mary has recently left her job at the Supreme Court switchboard and jilted her fiance, Philip (Jeffrey Lynn of the FOUR DAUGHTERS series), prompting several Supreme Court justices to attempt to play matchmaker and reunite Mary and Philip.

Meanwhile, the never-seen President takes an interest in Mary after speaking to her on the phone, and he fixes her up with a dashing Naval aide, Tom (Edmond O'Brien). Complicating matters yet further is David (Don Taylor), a scientist who repeatedly calls the switchboard in his quest to speak directly to the President.

It's grand fun, with a most entertaining setting and premise. The excellent supporting cast includes Harry Davenport as a Supreme Court justice, Griff Barnett as Mary's father, Katharine Alexander as Mary's White House supervisor, and Ray Collins as the President's secretary.

Durbin and O'Brien had previously been teamed in THE AMAZING MRS. HOLLIDAY, along with Harry Davenport. Deanna looks lovely in costumes by Orry-Kelly, and of course she sings several songs along with juggling her suitors. She always had such a pleasing screen personality; as I've gotten to know her work over the past year, not one of her movies has let me down.

It's rather sad that FOR THE LOVE OF MARY was Deanna's last film. She retired from the screen at the age of 27, ultimately moving to France, where she still lives. She'll be 87 this December.

Jeanine Basinger's superb book THE STAR MACHINE has an excellent chapter on Deanna Durbin.

FOR THE LOVE OF MARY was directed by Frederick De Cordova. It was shot in black and white and runs 90 minutes.

This movie is available on VHS. The video includes 8 minutes of an alternate ending at the end of the tape.

Previous reviews of Deanna Durbin movies: FIRST LOVE (1939), HIS BUTLER'S SISTER (1943), and NICE GIRL? (1941).

Update: FOR THE LOVE OF MARY is now available on DVD.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tonight's Movie: Thin Ice (1937)

THIN ICE is a perfect example of '30s escapism, with Sonja Henie as an ice skating instructor being courted by a dashing prince (a young Tyrone Power) -- only she believes he's a newspaper reporter. Over seven decades after it was made, the film continues to provide a welcome respite from the world's woes, economic and otherwise.

The film is not a great classic, but it was produced with expert craftsmanship, including attractive lead actors, crisp black and white photography, eye-catching sets, and unique, exciting Henie skating routines. The film was made simply to entertain, and it does so admirably. It's the kind of film that causes the viewer to sigh, "They don't make 'em like they used to."

Power and Henie are both charming as the young lovers. Power was roughly 23 when the film was made, and Henie a couple years older. Rumor has it they were a romantic item around the time the movie was filmed. This was Henie's second English-language movie. Power and Henie look like they're having fun in the movie, and the audience has a good time along with them.

The leads are supported by wonderful Arthur Treacher as Power's trusty aide, Alan Hale as a diplomat, Melville Cooper as a hotel manager, and Sig Ruman as the prime minister of Power's unnamed country.

Henie's skating numbers are marvelous, particularly an elaborate routine set to the music of Borodin, with a cast of thousands -- or at least dozens. (Of course, in the film's plot the choreography and costumes were put together in less than a day!) The ice rink set is jaw-droppingly spectacular, nestled into the center of an Art Deco hotel nightclub.

There were only two elements in the film I found a bit tiresome: Raymond Walburn's performance as Henie's blustery, greedy uncle, and comedienne Joan Davis as a girl bandleader. Davis was fun as a secretary in Power's DAY-TIME WIFE, but here she's just excess; during her numbers I was anxious to get back to Ty, Sonja, or some ice-skating. With the exception of these performances, the movie runs along most pleasantly, clocking in at a brisk 79 minutes.

THIN ICE was directed by Sidney Lanfield, who also directed Power and Henie in 1939's SECOND FIDDLE (reviewed here). Lanfield's other credits include THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH with Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth, and several Bob Hope titles, including SORROWFUL JONES and THE LEMON DROP KID.

THIN ICE can be seen on VHS. It can also be seen periodically on Fox Movie Channel.

There have been rumors for a couple of years now that a boxed DVD set of Sonja Henie titles will be released so perhaps this title will be out on DVD at some point, especially as Fox's Tyrone Power releases seem to be popular. I'd especially love to see Henie's SUN VALLEY SERENADE come out on DVD.

Update: THIN ICE is now available on DVD-R from the Fox Cinema Archives.

TCM Tribute to Paul Newman on October 12

Turner Classic Movies will be paying tribute to Paul Newman on Sunday, October 12th, with an 11-film marathon.

The titles being shown include HUD, SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME, and COOL HAND LUKE. I plan to record HUD for future viewing.

The only films in the marathon I've seen thus far are CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF and UNTIL THEY SAIL, which are both excellent. I own the Deluxe DVD version of CAT, which includes a featurette and a commentary track. It's a gorgeous print.

UNTIL THEY SAIL is a very interesting film based on a story by James Michener. It chronicles four sisters in New Zealand and how their lives are changed by American soldiers stationed in their town during WWII. Jean Simmons is a young widow who falls in love with Newman; her sisters are played by Joan Fontaine (a moving performance), Piper Laurie, and a very young Sandra Dee. The movie was directed by Robert Wise. It's available on video; I'd love to see it released on DVD.

Notable Passings

Two Broadway actresses who had long careers on New York based soap operas have passed away.

Irene Dailey, the younger sister of actor-dancer Dan Dailey, passed away on September 24th at the age of 88. (Click title of this post for her obituary.)

Dailey, who had a lengthy stage career, also starred on ANOTHER WORLD for two decades and was the recipient of an Emmy for Best Actress.

Dailey's stage credits included the original cast of the Tony-winning THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES. Playbill has posted an obituary.

Scottish-born actress Eileen Herlie died on October 8th at the age of 90.

Herlie appeared on ALL MY CHILDREN for over three decades. She played Queen Gertrude in Laurence Olivier's great filming of HAMLET in 1948, and played the role again on Broadway opposite Richard Burton. Her Broadway credits also included the original production of THE MATCHMAKER.

London's Daily Telegraph, in one of that paper's characteristically interesting obituaries, says that early in her career Herlie gave the longest speech in the history of the stage, a monologue which lasted 21 minutes.

"The Coming Obama Thugocracy"

A cautionary column by Michael Barone.

Some polls are still quite close...I continue to believe that the election is much closer than the media would have us believe. Given what we are continuing to learn about Senator Obama and his political methods, I pray I'm right.

Previously: Senator Obama's Assault on the First Amendment.

Update: More from Mark Steyn.

Also worth a read: Not Over Yet by Victor Davis Hanson.

Friday, October 10, 2008

"The Real Maggie O'Connell"

Actress Janine Turner of NORTHERN EXPOSURE was interviewed by Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online. It's a terrific read. Turner's viewpoints are quite different from what we so often hear expressed by celebrities.

Turner, who is pro-life, says "I believe in life at conception and I believe every child has a destiny and a God-given purpose... It is beyond my comprehension that Sen. Obama thinks babies who are accidentally born after a failed abortion should just be left to die. It is truly heartbreaking."

Turner supports the McCain-Palin ticket. Governor Palin, of course, is from the very state which was the distinctive setting for NORTHERN EXPOSURE, in which Turner played pilot Maggie O'Connell.

Turner on Governor Sarah Palin: "I was always so proud to portray the spunky, self-reliant, smart Maggie O’Connell. Maggie flew her own plane, shot her own moose, marched to the beat of her own drum. She was a breakthrough television character at the time. I am very flattered when the comparisons are made between Maggie O’Connell and Governor Palin. I created a character, but Governor Palin is the real deal. I am supporting Governor Palin with pride. I actually cried when I heard she was nominated... I am supporting and applauding her character, moral fiber, intellect, feistiness, and spunk. She is the essence of the independent spirit of America — the pioneer spirit — the type of spirit that made and makes America great."

Turner also said, "My father is a West Point Military graduate so I was raised with a sense of honor, dedication and sacrifice for our Country. My views have always been conservative and I found this to be a great challenge as a young actress in Hollywood during the Reagan days."

I remember those days well -- Turner was a long-haired blonde on GENERAL HOSPITAL circa 1982, playing the younger sister of Demi Moore. It was quite a surprise to have her later turn up on NORTHERN EXPOSURE with short, dark hair.

I was pleased to learn that Turner will be appearing this season on FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS.

Turner is also the author of the recent book HOLDING HER HEAD HIGH: 12 SINGLE MOTHERS WHO CHAMPIONED THEIR CHILDREN AND CHANGED HISTORY.

Tonight's Movie: Apartment for Peggy (1948)

Peggy Taylor (Jeanne Crain) is the pregnant 19-year-old wife of Jason (William Holden), an ex-Navy man attending college just after WWII.

There's a severe housing shortage on campus, but whirlwind Peggy talks her way into renting the attic of a depressed retired professor, Henry Barnes (Edmund Gwenn). Before long Peggy, an exuberant chatterbox, has turned the life of staid, suicidal Professor Barnes completely upside-down, and Professor Barnes finds he still has many reasons for living.

I first saw APARTMENT FOR PEGGY as a teenager and it has been a fond memory ever since. Having the opportunity to see the movie again was a real joy; it was even better than I had remembered. Seeing it from the perspective of an adult, it struck very deep emotional chords.

The performances are top-notch. Peggy is one of Jeanne Crain's best performances. She hits the notes just right as determined Peggy, making her a very real, fully-rounded character. Holden doesn't have as much to do as Jason, but he is also excellent as a man overcoming the trauma of difficult war experiences and struggling to achieve his dream of a college education while providing for his wife and baby. Gwenn is very moving as Professor Barnes, who is surprised to discover that he still has much to contribute despite his advanced age.

The marvelous supporting cast includes Gene Lockhart and Griff Barnett. Charles Lane has a terrific two-scene turn as a tough chemistry professor; his terse yet understanding discussion with Holden near the end of the film is a touching turning point in the story.

APARTMENT FOR PEGGY was written and directed by George Seaton, who the previous year directed Edmund Gwenn in his Oscar-winning performance in MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET.

The film runs 96 minutes. It was shot in gorgeous Fox Technicolor.

APARTMENT FOR PEGGY is not particularly well-remembered today, but at the time of the film's release, Bosley Crowther of the New York Times described the movie in glowing terms: "...superior film...rich exposition of human characters through a wealth of enchanting details...an enriching picture."

Variety also gave it an excellent review.

Some of the campus scenes were shot at the University of Nevada at Reno. (I wish I'd realized it when we visited Reno last summer!) The scene with the students ice skating takes place on the campus at Manzanita Lake. Other films shot on the campus include MOTHER IS A FRESHMAN with Loretta Young and Van Johnson and MR. BELVEDERE GOES TO COLLEGE with Clifton Webb and Shirley Temple.

APARTMENT FOR PEGGY has been shown in the past on Fox Movie Channel, so perhaps it will turn up there again one day. As I have written previously, it's a shame that this film and other Jeanne Crain classics such as MARGIE aren't available on DVD or video. I was so anxious to see PEGGY again that I decided to order a DVD copy from Free Classic Movies on DVD. It proved to be a fine print recorded from Fox by a private collector. (March 2010 Update: This company is no longer in business.)

APARTMENT FOR PEGGY is loved by many other viewers, as attested to by the film's high 7.1 rating at IMDb. One comment at IMDb was titled "Gold in the Unlikeliest Places" and said the film "needs rediscovery."

I heartily agree.

October 2009 Update: At long last, APARTMENT FOR PEGGY will air on Fox Movie Channel on November 14 and November 27, 2009.

March 2013 Update: APARTMENT FOR PEGGY is now out on DVD-R from the Fox Cinema Archives. I've read a couple reviews indicating print quality is just so-so.

Cute Puppy Alert

Our little Luke is now 4-1/2 months old:


Most of the time Luke's ears are both flopped forward, but every once in a while the Chihuahua in him asserts itself.

My 10-year-old son took this photo today. Luke seems to like the camera as much as our camera-shy dog Chance dislikes it!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Raining On My Circus Animal Cookie Parade

When I was a little girl, my grandmother always had a cookie jar with Van De Kamp's Molasses Cookies -- they were my grandfather's favorite cookie -- and a tin with pink and white Mother's Circus Animal Cookies.

Van De Kamp's has long since left the cookie business, but Mother's has been a staple throughout my life, and for generations prior to that. My children especially enjoy the different holiday variations of the Circus Animal Cookies.

It was thus certainly a shock to learn today that, after 92 years, Mother's abruptly shut its doors and filed for bankruptcy.

I'll be heading over to the store in the morning to see if I can snag a last few packages of Circus Animal, Cookie Parade, and Double Fudge cookies for our pantry and freezer.

More from the Consumerist.

Previously: Flaky Flix Cookies Are Back!

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