Monday, May 25, 2020

Honoring Those Who Fought for Our Country

Began Memorial Day by sleeping in. It was past 11 when I read a couple of pieces from the Colliers Harvest of Holidays anthology book. Memorial Day began as a holiday to honor Civil War soldiers, which is why all of the included material revolves around that conflict. "Light Bread and Apple Butter" is a touching short story about a young Union soldier who convinces a skeptical Confederate housewife and her children to give him a meal when he asks for it, instead of taking it. They also had several poems, including "Barbara Freichie."

Had brunch while watching Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour and Match Game. I came in just as Match Game-Hollywood Squares was on the Super Match. The regular Match Game continued in 1978 with Bob Barker, Loni Anderson, and Robert Pine. Robert showed where his son Chris got his charm by flirting with several contestants, even as Gene and Bob flirted shamelessly with Loni.

Headed out around 1. It was a decent day, partly cloudy and a little breezy but warm. Even if I couldn't do anything else for Memorial Day (and wouldn't be able to anyway because of my arm), I still wanted to may my respects to Oaklyn's fighting men and women at the Memorial Park. Surprisingly, there was no one there when I strolled over, not even people packing beer at Tonewood Brewery across the street. Someone must have come earlier; the pedestal that held the memorials was filled with red, white, and blue wreaths from the mayor and his people and several local military associations. I did a moment of silence and a silent prayer before moving on.

Since I was over there, I strolled down Goff Avenue to the boat launch at the end of the street. No one was there, either, other than a few people working on their gardens. The boat launch is steep, but it's worth walking down there for the spectacular view. If you look to your right as you come down the concrete path, you can see all the way to the Ben Franklin Bridge.

When I got home, I settled down with a simple fruit lunch and relaxed while watching more wartime shorts. Woody Woodpecker only starred in one war-related cartoon, "Ace In the Hole." He joins the Army to become a hot shot pilot, but the sergeant has him shaving horses. He really regrets what happens when Woody does get in the air. "Hysterical High Spots In American History" spoofs everything from Columbus discovering America to the then-recent peacetime draft.

Two of their one-off shorts spoofs that 1940 peacetime draft. "21 Dollars a Day (Once a Month)" depicts a toy army performing the title song, with cameos by Woody and Andy Panda. "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B" shows what happens when a popular jazz musician ends up in the military and really gets his barracks hopping with his swinging wake-up call. The African-American stereotypes fly thick and fast here, but this is also one of the only cartoons I know of to depict minorities in the military. "Pigeon Patrol" is the more typical story of a country bumpkin bird who takes over flying important papers to military brass and defeats a Japanese vulture in the process.

Donald Duck also joined the Army in a series of shorts made between 1942 and 1944. Like Woody, he'd hoped to get into the air, but Sergeant Pete has no such plans. He makes Donald stand at attention on an ant hill in "Donald Gets Drafted" and tried to get him to parachute out of a plane in "Sky Trooper." Donald gets Pete back in "The Vanishing Private" when he discovers an invisibility paint and leads Pete on a frantic chase all over the base looking for "the little man you can't see." Pete in turn tries catching an AWOL Donald in the act in "The Old Army Game," but the "old shell game" almost turns deadly for Donald when he thinks he's lost his other half.

"Fall Out, Fall In" has Donald having trouble putting up his tent, then sleeping when his fellow soldiers' snoring keeps him awake. Huey, Dewey, and Louie make their only appearances in a wartime short in "Home Defense." Donald takes their stripes when they play a joke on him when they're supposed to be spotting airplanes...but the joke is on him when he mistakes a bee for a plane. He takes on the Japanese in "Commando Duck" and proceeds to, wash...out the enemy.

By far the most famous of the Disney wartime shorts is "Der Fuehrer's Face." This unique short uses surreal images and more caricatures to depict Donald's nightmare about slowly going crazy under the brutal Nazi regime. This won an Oscar for best short in 1943; it did show up occasionally on The Disney Channel when I was a kid, usually on a nighttime show like Mousterpiece Theater where the context could be explained.

Mickey Mouse didn't figure heavily into Disney's World War II shorts, but he did do a short in 1929 that spoofed the previous war, "The Barnyard Battle." Despite his skinny rubber-hose physique, Mickey manages to taken on an entire army of Hun cats one-pawed.  Skipping ahead 50 years, The Pink Panther ends up in Vietnam without a clue in "G.I Pink." He annoys his superior officer so much, he eventually sends him to the Navy!

Worked on writing for a while after Pink ended. I redid the sequence with Charles going to the ball. He's now accompanied by town crier and real-life R&B musician Clifton Davies. As the two pass through Holly Woods, they notice smoke and hear screaming. Turns out there's a troll on the warpath...and Charles knows who he is...

Broke for Tuscan Tuna Bean Salad on a bed of spinach for dinner around 6. Watched more Match Game while I ate. The theme for this week is "misspelled words, either on panelists' cards or the Audience Match board." Brett, Charles, and Anson Williams all spelled "Coconuts" wrong, and I think Fannie (who's dyslexic) may have gotten something wrong, too.

Went for another stroll down the block after work. This time, I just made a quick stop on West Clinton. Phillies Yummies opened on Friday. They're the local ice cream shop, and like most small outdoor ice cream shops, only do take-out business and have outdoor dining. I limited my treat to what my arm could handle, a small cone piled with swirled vanilla and chocolate soft-serve ice cream. Enjoyed my sweet treat as I strolled home.

Finished out the night with tonight's Match Game syndicated premiere on YouTube and a couple of TV shows elsewhere. Started with Charlie's Angels on The Roku Channel again. The third season episode "Angels In Springtime" have the girls investigating a posh women-only spa where a wealthy former stage star just died in an electrical accident in a Jacuzzi. Sabrina poses as a dietitian, Kris as an aerobics instructor, and Kelly as a guest to find out whether the accident was actually murder and what the killer was after.

Hulu currently has all 11 seasons of MASH. I figured there could be no better show to watch on Memorial Day. Went straight down the middle with an episode from season 5, "The Nurses." The nurses are frequently at odds with head nurse Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan (Loretta Swit), especially Nurse Baker. When Baker wants to spend a night with her new husband, Hawkeye, Radar, and Hunnicut arrange to have them use Hot Lips' tent by claiming there's a sick man who needs it. Hot Lips isn't happy at first, but she and her nurses come to understand why she's so strict with them.

And I salute all real-life soldiers and medical personnel, men and women, who fought and died for our country on this Memorial Day.

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