Monday, March 26, 2012


Before seeing the film I saw last night, called Act of Valor, I had watched the trailer, and had read bits and pieces of reviews, most of which (in good journalistic inverted pyramid style) pack their brass-knuckled punch into the first sentence.

My personal favourite:
from Nick Pinkerton at the Village Voice -- "Act of Valor is, according to the opening titles, 'based on real acts of valor,' whatever that means."

A strong second place finish going to:
Robert Koehler at Variety -- "A mechanically efficient yet soulless dramatization of the U.S. Navy SEALs in action, Act of Valor ultimately misses its target: The hearts and minds of American audiences."

Dishonorable mention:
Blogger patsedin --
"At turns tasteless and nauseatingly patriotic, but also somewhat entertaining. I have to admit, I wasn’t having a bad time watching the movie until the last act, which is so grossly blatant in its preachy message and saddled with an overwrought closing voiceover, (“Put your feelings in a box. Lock them away.”), that it left a truly bad taste in my mouth...

Maybe it’s cynical, but I feel like this is [
I'm not making this up. -- ed.] a really sugar coated view of what really goes on...Act of Valor was a surprise hit, topping the box office it’s [sic] first weekend and making nearly twice it’s [sic] budget back in three days, grossing $25 million. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the movie did great guns in middle America, where it earned $18 million, but on either coast Act of Valor only made a combined $7 million... I can’t say I’m shocked, because this movie is tailor made for the whole middle of America."
Must say, this is not the same movie I saw. Now, granted, being a military mom, I'm going to take certain aspects of it differently -- harder -- than the keyboard-jockey in his paper-strewn lair, but at least I won't come out disgruntled because the directors didn't make the film I thought they should make. It's simply comic to read critical complaints about the fact that the character of the SEAL team was emphasized at the expense of the individuals, coupled with some nasty barb about the film's failure to be sufficiently "authentic" -- because, of course, who knows better than a film critic what the authentic character of a highly trained military squad involved in chaotic, split-second life-or-death situations, during which they must maintain focus and pursue their objective, should look like?

That question answers itself.

The view through rose-coloured news-hack glasses sometimes had difficulty accepting the plot-line. Wrote Peter Travers in Rolling Stone, "The action, involving Chechen rebels, Mexican drug cartels and assorted terrortists, is staged."

Really? Nothing like a Russian/Al Qaeda/Mexican three-way could ever happen? And the reason you know this is because it looked too much li
ke something you'd see on 24? Holy wow -- you're just the guy we're looking for at the National Security Agency.

A number of critics thought that the most dismissive comment they could make was to call the film nothing more than a naked military recruitment movie [Peter Travers again: "I don't know what to make of Act of Valor. It's like reviewing a recruiting poster."] and we can watch those for free, right?

At the risk of coughing up a giant SPOILER, these journo hacks would have us believe that the way we recruit (read: hoodwink) young people into joining the military is with an exciting, suspense-filled movie that ends with... [spoiler!!!!]

one of the most sympathetic principal characters falling on a grenade and being buried with full military honors in front of his pregnant wife.

Wow! -- you mean I can do that too? Sha-ZAM!!

My nephew claims he warned me about the film -- about a month ago he saw it in sneak preview and said he cried. I guess that wasn't enough to prepare me for what I saw. It was tense and exciting and believably sentimental and occasionally oddly funny (the interrogator is a genius).

Since (unlike many a journo hack) I not only know some real military people and have watched more than my fair share of genuine combat footage, but I have also met a lot of ordinary, real people from "flyover country," I found the film remarkably real -- yes, there was a bit of wooden acting here and there, but the critics make the fatal mistake of thinking that the Stanislavsky-inspired navel-based intensity they see on screen from professional thespians actually constitutes a portrait of reality rather than a close-up of the kind of self-absorbed neurosis that is decidedly lacking in the true warrior.

So I wasn't ready for the dénouement. I was a weeping, drained splat when it was over, and suffered from chattering teeth and a touch of lock-jaw for the next couple of hours. Not since my first viewing of Gibson's Passion of the Christ has a movie entered into and occupied my being in this way. My first act upon arriving home was to email my extended family and tell them NOT to see this film -- it's just too hard. I think it's a great film, and should be seen by all people in national leadership positions. But for those of us more directly involved in the life it describes, this is one we should save until "all our boys in various shades of blue are home safe for good and collecting their pensions."

In my family circular, I indulged in some less than charitable remarks, with a soupçon of hate speech, about politicians and journalists. I will refrain here. But I can't muffle myself when it comes to what may be the ultimate finger in the eye to Act of Valor delivered, as only a Canadian can, by Rick Groen at the Toronto Globe and Mail.
...Unfortunately, in the name of drama, they’re shipped out to the usual bogus plot – in this case, something about saving America from the clutches of suicidal terrorists doubly wrapped in their beliefs and their bombs. [emphasis mine -- ed.]

But say this for the real Seals. As performers, they are to the action genre what the male stars are to porn flicks – laughably wooden in the dialogue department, yet pretty impressive wielding their weapon of choice.

...As played by Alex Veadov, a professional thespian, the charismatic Christos [sic] steals every scene he’s in, especially the one set on his luxury yacht adorned with a full crew of female admirers in uniformly skimpy bikinis. [Sorry -- no objective viewer can watch the scene between Christo and real SEAL interrogator 'Senior Chief Miller' and say that Veadov stole it. -- ed.]

Suddenly, that recruitment poster takes an inadvertent but enticing turn into shallower waters: Join the Christos [sic] Navy, be all that you can be.’s easy to make out the moment when the code of honour meets an act of valour, prompting a brave lad to take one for the team, falling on a grenade in order to save his comrades.

All hail that flag-waving moment, when the deal is really Sealed: How sweet and fitting it is to die in defence of a movie cliché.

Wow! -- Who knew (?) that in 2004 when Cpl. Jason Lee Dunham, the Medal of Honor recipient whose name now graces a new Navy destroyer, fell on a grenade to save his fellow Marines at a Karabilah checkpoint, he was giving his life for a "cliché" of the most significant kind: the kind you see in a movie, our ultimate yardstick for measuring the world. If you're a journalist hack.

Finally, some otherwise reliably conservative bloggers at Atlas Shrugs and Ricochet see anti-Semitism as not only the core of the villain "Christo" [you can't make this up], but as the core of the entire film. Oh please. I'm done here.

It's not an ordinary film to be measured by ordinary standards. But it's a fine piece of work. See it, unless you can't take films that end with the folding of a flag at Arlington.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Blogger has identified this post as having jumped on somebody's copyright, and duly removed it, then pointed me towards the billboard where such violations are posted (called "Chilling effects").  I haven't figured out which side of the conflict C.E. is taking up, but in any case by the time I checked it all out, the complaint is no longer to be found there, so I don't know which item in the post is the offender.  As they say on Sesame Street, 'one of these things is not like the other' (i.e., my use of the other two didn't bother anybody).

So I'll try to re-post in a way that will keep all the respective knickers out of a twist.


It's called Veteran Inner Monologue (things veterans are thinking but can't say out loud when asked a lot of dumb questions).  

SMILE -- maybe LAUGH a little -- in a

[Hat-tip:  Blackfive ]

Medal of Honor winner Lt. Michael P. Murphy, USN

From Seal of Honor Facebook page:

Also taken from the Seal of Honor FB page -- just because.

If there's any copyright on this picture being violated, I detect no signs of it at the Seal of Honor Facebook page.

If there's any doubt of my respect for Lt. Murphy, check out my contribution to his film biography (and find a way to make your own) at MURPH.

So I'll try to post again, and see if the web cops make another raid.

Friday, March 23, 2012


I've done it again, gang. I've donated to the Obama campaign. I did it twice in 2008, and I just did it again, for a grand overall total of $20.

The catch is that I did it with my own CANADIAN credit card in my own name, but all of the information I entered at their online donation page was COMPLETELY BOGUS -- and eye-catchingly offensive. But they don't care. They took my money anyway.

People knew this was going on in 2008, but nothing ever came of the efforts to expose it, so awash were we in the glories of Hope, Change, and Transformation. Shall we try again? Unlike the birth certificate/Selective Service card scandal, this one should be provable beyond a shadow of a doubt. It's fun, it's cheap, it's documentable. Let the dossier begin.

Monday, March 19, 2012




days shy of his 89th birthday, and just a month after his last visit to Chambers Cove, Newfoundland, where he was rescued from freezing, oil-clogged waters in 1942, Lanier Phillips, the lone remaining survivor of the Truxtun/Pollux sea disaster passed on to his final reward.

The son of Georgia share-croppers and great-grandson of slaves, who had seen his school burned down by the Ku Klux Klan and saw little future for himself, joined the Navy in 1941 at age 18. In the world as it was then, he could not
hope for any assignment other than work in the kitchens, and it was there that he and the only other black sailors aboard the USS Truxtun fell to their knees on the galley floor when they felt the ship lurch and smash so violently that they were convinced they had been torpedoed.

In fact, the ship had foundered after going greatly off course in a vicious storm. There had been three ships in the convoy, bound for the American Naval base at Argentia, Newfoundland, and early that Ash Wednesday morning two of the three were smashed on ice-coated coastal rocks in the freezing waters near the small fishing villages of Lawn and St. Lawrence.

Chambers Cove on the Burin Peninsula, southern coast of Newfoundland, site of the wreck of the Truxtun. Between the two ships, 389 men went into the icy water clogged with a foot-deep coating of oil.

The oil line still visible at the base of the cliff.
Some who made it to shore expired at the bottom of sheer cliffs before they could be rescued. But, in what seems like a miracle but is in fact just a testimony to the essential goodness of the human person, 186 survived to tell the tale. They did so thanks to the inexpressible courage and perseverance of the few sailors who clawed their way to the top of the cliffs, and of the townspeople of Lawn and St. Lawrence who, without hesitation, mobilized every able-bodied boy and man to haul the desperate crews up the cliffs in the freezing dark, and every available woman in the towns to wash, warm, feed, and nurse the survivors back to life. (Described in a rescuer's letter regarding the Pollux break-up near Lawn.)

That's where the iconic story of a remarkable young black sailor kicks in. All the survivors were brought into town covered in the oil that had spilled from the broken-up ships on impact. As they were brought in and laid out on kitchen tables and floors, the first task was to wash the gummy mess off their skins. When it came to the semi-conscious Phillips, the women scrubbed and scrubbed but seemed to be getting nowhere.

In one terrifying lucid moment, the young m
an was forced to tell his rescuers that they could not scrub the black off of him -- that was the colour of his skin. No one in this remote Newfoundland outport had ever seen a black man before. What followed was, to Lanier Phillips, the real miracle of the day: the colour of his skin made absolutely no difference. The man who could truthfully say that he had never had a kind word from a white man before in his entire life, found himself engulfed in the loving care and boundless sacrifice (the rescuers at the cliff had clearly risked their lives, and the people of the towns ran out of stored food for themselves when they had fed all the sailors) of the kindest people he had ever met.

In the dawn of that day, Lanier Phillips' life changed forever.
Follow the story of what happened on the seas and the land that day in Cassie Brown's Standing Into Danger and at the website Dead Reckoning.

Read about the 70th anniversary memorial celebrations at which Phillips and his rescuers were the most honoured guests last month -- his bright eyes surveyed the cliffs and seas for the last time, and he spoke in the strong voice now familiar to the citizens of Lawn and St. Lawrence.

Watch him tell
the story of how he was inspired to make a career for himself in the Navy against all odds and a history of racial discrimination, here (NPR's A World Without Racism), and below:

And read of his passing, in the Burin Peninsula
Southern Gazette, St. John's Telegram, Toronto Globe and Mail, Epoch Times, and the CBC.

He is memorialized
here by the U.S. Navy. (good video)

Of special interest is a clip from Lanier's eulogy delivered by his son Terry. I don't know about anyone else, but I could wish that this fine young man had been America's first black president.

He became
Dr. Lanier Phillips in May of 2008, when he was awarded an honorary degree by Memorial University of Newfoundland.

And in true Newfoundland f
ashion, here's a ballad to tell his story.

Lanier Walter Phillips
March 14, 1923 - March 12, 2012

Requiescat in pace.

Fair winds and following seas.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


1) Poor starving student Sandra Fluke needs $3000 to keep her from getting pregnant by a boyfriend who can afford to take her all over the world on exotic vacations but can't seem to cough up for the pills or rubber goods. Nice.

Ha! A Bill O'Reilly viewer writes in that with all her political activism and world travels, it's a wonder Ms. Fluke (that's pronounced "fluck", she tells us) will become "Sandra Flunk". Heh.

[totally unrelated network time killer:]

2) The Arab Spring and the Religion of Pieces -- bringing back crucifixion and penal amputations just in time for Easter.

[apropos of which:]

Not from Gateway Pundit, but from me:


Spent most of the day in and around the sites of the mission and martyrdom of St. Jean de Brébeuf and St. Gabriel Lalement, near Midland, Ontario. A beautiful day, with sunshine and cool breeze amid melting remnants of snow at the foot of bare birches, next to a small but noisy river, as the ice was breaking up on nearby lakes and ponds and inlets -- just one day before the 363rd anniversary of that day of terror, torture, and murder, March 16, 1649.

We wer
e a small group of pilgrims, mostly kids and seminarians, praying the Mass on the holy ground of St. Ignace, just a stone's throw from the wooden cross and the two upright tree trunks which stand on the site of the stakes that held up the clubbed, slashed, gouged, broiled and branded bodies of the two Jesuit missionaries.

It wasn't hard to picture who to pray for at the foot of those stakes -- those who suffer in all too similar a way to this very day: the Chaldeans, Coptics, Christians from Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, Egypt all hounded, battered, and blown from the homes they've held for two thousand years in the cradle of Christendom; the innocents blown apart from Jerusalem to Gaza to Kandahar to Nigeria to Bali; the women [scroll down] burned, beaten, dissolved, stoned, and clitorectomied in the name of patriarchy; Menchaca and Tucker, and Danny Pearl mutilated and beheaded by Al Qaeda.

It's still hell on wheels at full speed out there, and it still tears into the flesh and makes rivers of blood. Christianity is still hard, and defending the right, and just getting by day to day in turbulent corners of the world, whatever one's faith or culture.

And prayer still helps, even when you're not standing at the foot of the stakes where the ground has been seeded with the blood of martyrs. At least I'd like to think so. Some days it's hard.

Monday, March 12, 2012



Secretary of State Hillary Clinton compares American "extremists" trying to control women's "health" to those controlling, veiling, imprisoning, raping, selling, burning, stoning, beating, and dissolving with acid the women of the Muslim world, in her remarks at the hip and glamourous Women in the World conference now twinkling amid the bright lights of New York and Meryl Streep's Oscar. Wow.

All because a Georgetown Law-Student/left-wing-activist told the eager stenographers at a press event that she needs her student insurance (costing her $1,895 per annum -- while the average cost for an individual covered by an employer in 2011 was $5,429) to protect her from the consequences of three years of campus sex, after which she will graduate and make around $160,000 at her first job. Interestingly, her family did NOT subject her to an honour killing for bringing humiliation upon them through her public act of brazen hussy-dom.

Dear Mrs. Clinton: this is what it looks like to be a woman oppressed by the extremists in her society.

Below is one of the few photographs found at the links that follow which I dare put up for the unprepared visitor -- most of the others are too horrific to spring on any adult without warning. But do look at them -- look at what Secretary of State Hilary Clinton considers equivalent to a world with one less avenue for free contraceptives for the would-be-sterile American woman.


Here. [link corrected]


I now pronounce you man and baby-wife.

Today, while the glitterati self-medicate on their benevolent wonderfulness at the Women in the World confab, Afghan women contemplate their next move in the face of the Karzai government's acceptance of a throwback declaration from the council of leading Muslim clerics that women are a secondary species whose future lies in Sharia servitude.

Recall if you will: Mrs. Clinton proclaimed to the women of Afghanistan back in 2010, "We will not abandon you; we will stand with you always." And she gave them a photo-op in Bonn, Germany, last December. It was the ten-year anniversary of a conference convened ostensibly, risibly, so that the international community could work out a future for Afghanistan. In December they met again -- to plot the course for their craven crawl out the back door. Community organizing at its finest.

And from Instapundit:

Egypt celebrates International Women's Day by condemning the 1978 UN Convention on sexual discrimination as incompatible with Sharia law.

It made a nice symmetrical pairing with their aquittal of an army doctor accused of sexually assaulting female protesters by conducting "virginity tests".

In what tried very hard to be a related matter, cartoonist Gary Trudeau found his anti-anti-abortion comic strips getting booted from a number of newspaper pages this week, since they portrayed the new Texas pre-abortion ultrasound mandate as a form of rape (that comes in the Tuesday or Wednesday strip) because it requires a transvaginal examination.


The abortion itself requires all kinds of transvaginal goodies, from such graduated laminaria, cannulas and scoops as might be needed, to the partial-birthing perforator and cranioclast, the uses of which are self-evident (brought to you by the
Rhein Group, here in all their glory). If we are to believe that an ultrasound microphone constitutes invasion and rape, surely the potential abortion-mill customer has already implicitly agreed to a lot more serious indignities courtesy of the standard instruments of abortion.

The transvaginal ultrasound, I might add, can be used to examine those pregnant women who actually want their babies (I had one once) and later on in life it is useful for tracking the progress of uterine fibroids (had a couple of those too).

Get over it, Trudeau, and all your little clucking feminist acolytes along with you. There's nothing fun about a transvaginal ultrasound, but as invasions go, it's pretty much a tempest in my tea-pot.

Footnote: A caller to Mark Steyn (sitting in for the notorious Rush Limbaugh today) noted how the President of (we are led to believe) the entire United States managed to find time to call Ms. Fluke, the Georgetown former virgin, to express his sympathy that the big bad radio blow-hard blew her sensibilities a little too hard and called her nasty names. The caller wondered to Steyn why Mr. Obama had not yet found the time to call one single person who lost their entire life's goods, maybe their livelihood, and perhaps even some family members, in the recent tornadoes. Nor did he call to lend support and give due public recognition to the woman who lost both her legs while saving her own children from being crushed when a tornado destroyed their Indiana home. Maybe he'll remember her if he gets another shot at the SOTU. (God forbid. And I mean it, God.)

Odd. And Mr. Obama really didn't need to go out of his way to comfort Ms. Fluke -- he could have just hit speed-dial and passed on his message to Fluke's handler, former Obama Communications Director Anita Dunn, disgraced and bounced from her job after praising Mao Zedong in a strangely slurpy speech to high school grads. She seems to have landed on her purty liddle feet, and is now having public relations with Sandra Fluke, or something like that. It's all inside the Beltway to me.

Priorities, folks. Hopey Changitude.

Republicans want to steal your Lady-parts! Film at 11:00!

Saturday, March 03, 2012


My counter just hit 25,000 views to date. I wonder how many thousand of them were only looking for the "hippie room" picture on these posts? Happens ALL THE TIME, and drives me nuts. Oh well, maybe those surfers picked up a little dram of wisdom on their way to the photo link. Anyhow, here I am at 25K, down a long road since I decided to have my say about Cindy Sheehan in 2005. (Wow -- I didn't even know how to do links when I wrote that.) Today, I jumped on board a Facebook page calling out for "One Million Breitbarts" -- to have done so makes me look almost as narcissistic as the President (who in the past 24 hours has compared himself to Gandhi and Mandella), but I guess we all have to nurture a little ambition.

Thursday, March 01, 2012



What do we do now?

A great warrior for the cause -- perhaps the most warrior-like figure in the entire American conservative movement -- volatile, funny, abrasive, fearless, entirely at home in his own skin, always simmering and ready to boil -- it's probably accurate to say that he wore himself out in the cause of speaking the truth no matter how noisy and threatening the efforts to shout him down and shut him up.

(it just seems natural to call him by his last name, like he was his own corporation or country) was a brilliant innovator in all the new media, and his pioneering work has changed everything about the way we must approach politics if we are going to survive the gummy shackles of craven political correctness which now rules.

Roger Simon
has called him a whirlwind today, and indeed it's like a gale-force wind has gone out of our sails. Hard to imagine how we will survive what promises to be a bloody election year contest without his voice, cutting straight through the crap.

Good obit here.

Dennis Miller, for whom Breitbart was a charming and fun substitute radio host, has just called him a noble warrior who "killed it and ate it" -- ooh-rah.

I'm going to go out today and buy the book: RIGHTeous IndigNATION.

And watch for the movie, out soon, called (tellingly) Hating Breitbart.

Andrew leaves behind a wife and four young children. And masses of devastated colleagues and friends. And a monster contingent of bereaved fans.

Andrew Breitbart 1969-2012

Requiescat in pace.

Look out, Heaven -- you have no idea what's comin'.