Monday, May 25, 2009

repost: thank you...

In honor of Memorial Day and all those who have served and are serving, we present this repost of an essay from a couple of years ago by Wolf: Some Gave All.

As we fire up the grills today and enjoy family and friends I challenge us all to remember those for whom this day began. For centuries man has engaged in battle. Since time began there has always been a group somewhere who took up arms to defend their own or others who could not do so for themselves. Today we remember those who undertook this duty for our nation, but did not live to return home. I am not ashamed to say that as Americans, we live in the greatest nation on this green earth. God smiles on this country and those who feel otherwise can go jump in a lake.
The Declaration of Independence and Constitution alike are documents inspired of God and we live under the protection of their great canopy today. Lets take today to enjoy our freedoms and remember those who stand watch and hoist that canopy for us.

There is the famous phrase "All gave some and some gave all..". We hear it now and then and most of us pay little attention. Today is the day we remember those who gave all. My grandfather fought in and was wounded in the invasion of Italy in WWII. He is with us today because our family is greatly blessed. There are those who fought alongside him who never made it back to their families. I once heard him talk about the horrors of war saying that since returning home he has thought "Why did I survive? Why is it that when I was injured that I came out OK yet there were so many others who never made it past 19 or 21 years of age and returned home dead." He told me once that he had a great friend in his unit from Tennessee. He said they fought together in North Africa and into Italy. After he was wounded, he was taken to a field hospital and then to Charleston, S.C. to recover. Once he had gained his bearings in Charleston, he says he went to great lengths to check on the status of his friend who was still fighting overseas. In the process of doing so, he discovered to his horror that his unit had gone on to spearhead an attack on a city held by the Nazis and was almost completely wiped out. The list of casualties included his friend. This caused him to wonder why he survived and why he wasn't dead with his friend. I know he is grateful that he is here with us today, but I understand why he has had concern in the past.

There are those who have gone on before who died for the cause of our freedom or for the freedom of another. I don't care what your politics are. Whether it's our freedom or the freedom of some other nation, it is still freedom. People say that our soldier are dying for nothing in Iraq, but I say that disrespects the fallen who went out and put their life on the line for the freedom of another. No soldier ever died for nothing as long as they believed in the cause for which they fought. Let us put partisan views aside today and remember those who will never make it home. For the sake of their memory and the honor of their families, let us join together this day in a moment of silence to remember those who have fallen. I know we've all seen this video clip of the soldier returning from Iraq and surprising his son. As a father of two boys, I know what it is to enjoy the love of your children. In my career I have had several instances where I thought that I might not have made it home to see them again. Luckily I'm still with my family, but as we watch this clip today, let's think of what it is like for all of those little boys and girls past and present who won't get to hug mommy or daddy again. Let's think that even though our soldiers fight for freedom right now in another country, they still fight and die for freedom. Let's honor them for their courage and sacrifice and let's think about what it means when we hear "some gave all".

In America you can go on the air and kid the politicians, and the politicians can go on the air and kid the people.

Please feel free to comment if the need strikes you.

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. ."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

repost: memorial day

Some of year are right in the middle of enjoying the three day weekend- let us not forget why we mark this day. A post from last year:

This is the day (which should be one of many) that we set aside to remember those who fought for our freedom and to defend it. I know many of us will be grilling and doing lots of other things, as it's become more of an unofficial kick off to summer. But let's take a moment and remember what the day really is for, and perhaps to thank those who have served or currently serve in the military.

I personally would like to thank my own dad who served in the Air Force during the Vietnam Era and my grandfather who was in the Army during World War II. The both served with honor. Thank you Dad and Papa, for not only your service, but for your example and the hundreds of lessons you taught me.

I like to also read or reread books about the soldiers such as D-Day, Citizen Soldiers, The Coldest War and so many more, but one of my favorites is Ambrose's Band of Brothers. It was turned into one of the best mini-series/movies I've seen about the subject. I'm posting two clips from the series; one from the beginning where the 101st Airborne drops into Normandy as an advance for D-Day, and one from near the end of the series where a patrol comes across a Concentration Camp. WARNING- some of the scene is a bit graphic, but nothing too bad. But watching these two clips remind me of how much they saw, but how much they accomplished.

Here is clip one from Band of Brothers: Episode 2, Day of Days

And here is the second clip. This time from Episode 9: Why We Fight

Thank you- and Happy Memorial Day.

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

I've come to realize that there is nothing good about war, but there is good in why you fight wars.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

perhaps an explanation is in order...

We've been MIA for about a month now, and other than the regular pressures of daily life, work, etc, there are other reasons behind this absence and perhaps I owe some explanation to our loyal Shelfers- some sort of idea as to what's going on in Uncle Loophole's blogging mind.

Allow me to begin at the beginning. This blog was started in September of 2005, just a few weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. I was venturing into blogging as something new- something to allow myself a venue to express my opinions and ideas; sometimes about politics, but mostly about popular culture and one of my passions, classic cinema. The blog grew unexpectedly and in short order, I was joined by my cohort, Wolf Flywheel. Wolf has been absent from writing on The Shelf for the better part of a year now, very much busy with work and family, but no less passionate about the things he essayed about here in these hallowed halls.
At the time there weren't as many "Classic Film Bloggers" out there as there are now, but there we enough to inspire me, challenge me and enlighten me. We wanted to increase the discussion and passion of classic film, and make the younger generation relate to it more. I think Turner Classic Movies and the Internet has done just that, and we have been lucky enough to be around and witness it happen.

We've also been lucky enough to develop a bit of a relationship with some of the wonderful folks at TCM and we've been able to promote and highlight their offerings in our own feeble way. We've even been fortunate to review classic and more recent DVDs from the kind folks in the marketing departments at Warner Brothers, Fox/MGM, Paramount and Genius Products. All in all, I'd say we've had loads of fun, and perhaps more than we really merited. After all, we are just a blog, not some sort of professional publication.

We also delved into popular culture and entertainment- discussing animation, television, our nations unhealthy obsession with celebrity and more discussion into our national psyche for good or bad. For several years we brought you the "media roundup" feature which we intended to highlight the best picks of DVDs, TV, books, music- generally all media releases of the week. It was time consuming, but great fun. We also contributed previews of documentaries on TCM, our TCM picks for the month and special Holiday posts looking at everything from television specials to candy. We've even posted about Old Time Radio several times.

This brief autobiography is not intended as self-aggrandizing talk in any way, but merely an introduction to the present condition and state of mind. You see, many times when I've come to these pages to discuss any of these things with you, I've often found a wonderful array of voices (many listed in our links or community sidebar) that have either discussed it or covered much of the same ground, etc. In other words- somebody else had beat us to it, and did it better than we would. I often found myself wanting more and more to just post a serious of links and say- "click here and read this! It's great and what we would say!" But that isn't much of a blog, is it?

You see, unlike 4 years ago, the voices discussing Classic films and much of the other topics we cover are many and all over the Internet. I regularly discover a previously unknown (to me) site almost every other week. And it's great. I felt like I was in a small community before, and now I feel like that community has grown by leaps and bounds.

So the question I've been asking myself more and more is- what am I doing? In the midst of daily like, work, etc- what difference can I make, what is the point of writing every week and what worthwhile statement or review or topic or discussion can I truly offer. Don't get me wrong. I love doing this, but things change. The media format are beginning to change, more towards digital download I believe. The DVD screeners, etc are slowing down, the TCM community is getting larger by the day- etc- and these are great things! So there you have it- what do I have to bring to the table. I guess I feel like the equivalent of the guy who brings jello salad to the church social: "More jello salad? Again?" (By the way- I'm not knocking on Jello). Even that old standby politics has become increasingly more visceral and less open to discuss. No one seems really interested in an honest exchange of ideas. And what's worse- more people are becoming less familiar with those ideas, period. Disheartening. We had a motto, oft repeated in the early days of this blog: Think for Yourself. It almost feels like spitting in the wind to say it now. And the question becomes- am I really thinking for myself? I don't know sometimes.

So I beg your indulgence. I don't think and don't mean to say we are shutting the doors here at The Shelf. It has been hard trying to do it on a regular basis by myself, but it also helps to have passion and direction: two things that have been missing lately. I have a few ideas- a proposal of a metamorphosis into something new; something I've been ruminating for a while. And I would love to include some of our great Shelf friends and fellow bloggers on this venture, but I must flesh it out, as it were, before diving in and proposing it.

In the meantime, I will try to post from time to time, although intermittently, until things have become clear. I will continue to maintain our wonderful collection of links to other great bloggers and our what's on the Shelf feature regularly. I would however welcome any criticism, suggestions or comments any of you may have, we certainly could use it. So please leave your thoughts in the comments section or feel free to email us at We will be back soon!

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

We've been in worst jams than this, haven't we, Hildy?


Blog Widget by LinkWithin