Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Alternative End- of- Year Awards

You want to have a bit of a laugh, don't you?
Go and look at the photos of the "alternative end of the year awards" on the BBC.  You may see them just here.

There, I hope you were able to see them. That one with the little girl after her first day at school...that cracked me up! The man who hired a clown to come in with him as he was being fired! (They say "made redundant" in England.)  Oh, and at the end... the French postmen...because, sure why not?  So funny!

There are serious photos too but I had already seen those, the funny ones were new to me.  (I love the one of the Korean woman delivering yogurt to the elderly.) I really do read the BBC a lot!

Happy New Year!  Keep laughing, that's my advice.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

SS Meredith Victory, The Ship of Miracles

Imagine a ship designed to carry 12 passengers with a 47 person crew somehow expanding to accommodate 14,000 people...
How can this be? It really happened between Dec. 15- Dec. 24,  1950 in Korea on the ship, the Meredith Victory during the Hungnam Evacuation. It is called the Miracle of Christmas. I had never seen photos of the refugees crammed onto the ship until I read a piece about it from the BBC recently. You may read it just here.  I urge you to do so.

In order to understand this you will need to know the background story of the Korean War...
It was a war between North Korea and South Korea. North Korea had the support of the Soviet Union and China. South Korea was supported by the United Nations.  Never actually declared a war, this "police action" claimed 33,686 American lives. 

The Battle of the Chosin Reservoir was from Nov. 27-Dec. 13, 1950.  This occurred during some of the coldest winter temperatures, estimated to be 36 degrees below Fahrenheit. (That would not only cause many cases of severe frostbite but also cause guns to jam and for the batteries in the jeeps to quickly die down.) 
The Frozen Chosen...that is a phrase you might have heard before, once again I urge you to read more about the desperate plight of those who were there.
Did I mention to any of you about the book " On Desperate Ground" by Hampton Sides? This book is about this battle which actually turned out to be a test of survival. The troops were ordered to withdraw to the port of Hungnam.   There, many Korean refugees waited hopefully to be put aboard one of the naval ships.  With 193 ships, the UN forces were evacuated and also roughly one third of the Korean refugees, about 100,000.  As I told you at the beginning of this post, one of the ships, the SS Meredith Victory, carried 14,000 of them. Here is a quote for you from the captain of that ship, Captain Leonard LaRue...

"I think often of that voyage. I think of how such a small vessel was able to hold so many persons...and as I think, the clear message comes to me that on that Christmastide, in the bleak and bitter waters off the shores of Korea, God's own hand was at the helm of my ship."

Even though there was very little food or water and the people were standing shoulder to shoulder, there were no injuries or casualties aboard. (In fact, five babies were born on ship!)

One of the officers aboard had this to say...

"There's no explanation for why the Korean people, as stoic as they were, were able to stand virtually motionless and in silence. We were impressed by the conduct of the refugees, despite their desperate plight. We were touched by it."

Col. Edward H. Forney was the evacuation control officer at Hungnam in 1950. His grandson, Ned Forney, is a writer who lives in Seoul, Korea and is working on a book about the Battle of Chosin and the Hungnam evacuation. You know that is a book that I will read!  I am happy to direct you to his website, you may find it just here.  (While there, don't miss his blog, where he also wrote about Jimmy Stewart and his military service. I promise that you will thank me for telling you.)

Finally, let me say that I have great respect for all that I have mentioned here.  My mother's first husband died in Korea. I remember the carefully folded American flag and Purple Heart in the cedar chest as I was growing up. I have contacted Ned Forney in Korea and he has told me that the name, Roy Hollifield is on the memorial to the Americans killed in Korea. I am grateful to know that.  

Why did I choose this photo to go with this post? This was taken at almost the same time last year and the contrails from the airplanes remind me a bit of the characters from the Korean alphabet. Once again, I mean this with respect and honor.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas Blue Christmas Tree!

There is something about blue that I find very calming. When I saw this blue tree from Southwark Cathedral from London, I had to share it with you.   My little shiny blue Christmas tree I had on my blog a few posts back? (The photo was from a few years ago.) I seemed to have LOST it! How can you lose a Christmas tree? I don't know but I did!  I must have put it away in a VERY safe place.

This photo is from last year but I just looked and Southwark Cathedral used the same blue lights. At their Christmas Eve service last night, it was standing room only. That pleases me.

My dear friends in Blogland, I looked and I had 91 drafts for posts. 
91!!  Now that I have shown you this blue Christmas tree, the count is at 90.   That doesn't count the slips of paper with ideas stuffed into my handbag/pocketbook.  (I still say pocketbook but I am old and young folks look at me funny!) 

Thankful for my blessings in my life and my blogging friends are a big part of those blessings.  God bless you, every one.

M E R R Y    C H R I S T M A S !

Image result for southwark cathedral photo of blue tree

Saturday, December 21, 2019


This is such a pretty song, you are tempted to sing along but don't...listen to the video I have here for you. Please! It is the great grandchildren of the Von Trapp family singers. (Sound of Music fame, I hope you all know!)  The song is "Edelweiss", the words are by Oscar Hammerstein II and the music by Richard Rodgers.

Now, isn't that incredibly, impossibly beautiful?

 By the way, I really loved the book "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" written by Maria Von Trapp herself! You should read it!


(Thanks to David G. in Kentucky who had this video on his Facebook!)

This is not an Edelweiss flower but a lily in my own back yard from June of this year.   Peace to you all.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Brenda Lee- "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" at #3

Brenda Lee! I hope you know she is the voice behind "Rockin' Round The Christmas Tree"! (A Georgia Girl like me, she is from the small town of Lithonia, which is just 8 miles down the road from me!)  The song was written by Johnny Marks, the same man who gave us, "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer", not to mention ALL the songs from the Rudolph stop motion TV show from 1964. (You know them all, don't you? You know I do!)  I read an interview that she gave recently and she said that Johnny Marks specifically asked for her to record this song. And here is her quote, " I was only 12 and I had not had a lot of success...but he wanted me to do it and I did." 

Now, go back and read that...that is NOT a typo, she sang that song when she was only 12 years old! Wow, such a voice! And she is very petite, I think she is just 4 feet, 9 inches as an adult, imagine how small she must have been as a child. She began singing at the age of 4, and her family was very poor.  Her father died when she was just nine years old.  Brenda Lee became the primary breadwinner in her family at the age of 10.  I don't know if any of you saw the series by Ken Burns on Country Music but I really enjoyed hearing of her experiences in music and also of her close friends in the music business. I had no idea that she had toured with Patsy Cline and that Patsy had "taken her under her wing", so to speak. I find that very interesting. Wouldn't it have been great if they could have cut a record together? And what if you could have heard them perform in concert together? 

 Brenda Lee is a fantastically successful musical artist, selling 100 million records worldwide!
Oh yeah, the Christmas song that she recorded when she was just 12? It has always been one of the most requested songs when she performs! It is always popular to hear at Christmas but guess what, just this week...
from digital downloads and streaming, "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" is at an all time chart peak at # 3 for the 2019 holiday season! (Amazing, really since it has been around since 1958.)  

I know I should give you the video of her singing the very song I have been talking about, but that first video I have for you is..."Break It To Me Gently", just because I like it so much!
What you are saying, after all this about the song and you don't have it on here for us? HA! You know I do!

In the very popular film, "Home Alone" from 1990, the song was heard in its entirety and it is from this movie that many heard it for the first time. 

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Background Music for TCM- December 2019

Got it!  I searched for some background music that I heard on TCM and I am happy to tell you that I finally found it and have it for you here!   Please watch it and tell me that you like it as much as I do!
Reading the comments, it is said that the song is called "Got It" by Gabrielle.  Does anyone know if this is correct?  I wasn't aware of this singer. (She is from England, so I should have heard of her but hey, I can't know every  singer in the world, just feel like I should.) I listened to other songs by her...and while this info might be correct, it doesn't sound like her voice to me.  As I say, I could be wrong...let me know!  (And be sure to click on the full screen in the lower right corner, so you can see the film clips better.)  
https://youtu.be/ZdwQvArrSqk                  Just in case you can't see above video!

TCM (Turner Classic Movies). Back when Ted Turner just had a small Atlanta TV station (Channel 17, anybody remember?) , he used to show old films on there which I really enjoyed. (This was in the 1970's.) Why now, I think they have TCM in England, so it must be all over the world! I love all the old films that they show on TCM and the way the bits of film are put together with this song...I just think it's great.  (And Jimmy Cagney, the way he rolls his eyes when he tells us that he is Santa Claus, Robin Hood and the goose that laid the golden egg. ...oh I just love him!)  I love ALL of it, each and every shot.  Why, I even like the dancing squirrel towards the end!  I am crazy about movies, can you tell? Not to mention ALL the films I want to be made about interesting people. (How many times have I said I wish a movie could be made about so and so?)
Do I have everything ready for Christmas? HO HO HO! (I do have the wreath on my front door that I made myself!) How about you?
"A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears!"

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Silent. Listen. Tinsel. (And A Few Things I Want To Tell You.)

Before this day is over I have to tell you that it is National Poinsettia day in the USA.   We love poinsettias, give us the red ones please and don't dust any glitter over them, thank you! I'm sure that I have told you before that they were brought back from Mexico by a man by the name of Joel Poinsett. Something that I just learned about him recently is that he was instrumental in the development of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.
(Smithsonian Gardens, which is a division of the museum, has two thousand poinsettias.)  Why has no one thought to make a film about Joel Roberts Poinsett? I think he is fascinating, you may read about him here.  
Something I read on the BBC about Olivia Newton John...did you see it?  Remember the black leather jacket she wore in "Grease"? She put that up in an auction and it sold for 185,000 pounds. (I think that is about $243,000!)  The buyer gave it BACK to her!
Isn't that something? He said, "It should not sit in a billionaire's closet for country club bragging rights."  Don't know about you, but that just made my day!

I saw Olivia Newton John in the 1970's. My sister and I saw her at Six Flags Over Georgia, an amusement park near Atlanta. She was great in concert! Before it started, she was brought up in a small golf cart and she glided right past us on the pathway to the stage.   She is even more beautiful in person than she is on film. Olivia Newton John is currently taking cancer treatments. In 2012, she set up the Olivia Newton John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in Melbourne.


Mt. Everest is named after Sir George Everest.  Guess what, he never climbed it and it is doubtful that he ever laid eyes on it! Remember when I told you that I had been saying Andrew Carnegie's name wrong? George Everest, having been born in Wales, pronounced his name like this...EVE-rest.  So...should we really say Mt. EVE-rest instead of EVER-est?  This does make me wonder...did those who wanted it named after him try their best to make folks pronounce it the way he said it?

Anyway, I find the story of his life fascinating also! You may read more about him just here.   

A was once an apple pie...
Pidy, widy
Pidy, tidy,
Nice insidy
Apple Pie!     

(Our son always loved Edward Lear's alphabet.) And Richard really liked this gluten free apple pie I made him!
 Hope all of you are looking forward to the Christmas holidays, they are right around the corner now!

(What do those three words have in common?)

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Four Things I've Learned


Hello, my friends! You know those bloggers who say they have very little to say? Not me, my purse is stuffed with slips of paper of things I want to share with you.  I will tell you seven  four things in this post...

1.   Col. Sanders-  Kentucky Fried Chicken 

Turns out, that being a colonel in Kentucky is a real thing, I had no idea!  "Kentucky Colonel is the highest honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Commissions for Kentucky Colonels are given by the governor and the secretary of state to those in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation."
Col. Harland Sanders (1890-1980) was a fascinating man. You may read more about him just here.  I wish someone would make a movie about him.  The British director, Michael Apted could do it, he made a great film about someone else from Kentucky.  "Coal Miner's Daughter" about Loretta Lynn was really, really good. 

2.  Andrew Carnegie.

      Everyone should know the name of the great philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.  There is a famous music hall in New York City which bears his name because he funded the building. (It was first simply called Music Hall, Andrew Carnegie was later persuaded to allow the use of his name.) Now...here is what I have learned - his name is pronounced "Car- NAY-gee" not "Car-nuh-gee"!  I knew that he had been born in Scotland and that his family had moved to the USA when he was a child but it never occurred to me how to say his name! I actually heard this pronunciation of the name on an old British film and so I then looked it up and had a nice time also reading more about this fascinating gentleman, not just how to say his name.  One of my blogging friends in Scotland has written of him before. Thank you Alex  Bob! at   blue sky scotland.  If you want to see some great photos of Scotland, check out their blog. BOB does the writing and I do enjoy the posts very much. ) I urge you also to find out more about Andrew Carnegie. No matter how you say his name, we need more like him today. 

 (Famous joke: "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice, practice, practice!) Sorry, had to have it here just in case no one has heard it!) 

3.Tootsie Rolls

Tootsie Rolls are part of my childhood. (Been around since 1907! Not me but the candy!) They are not chocolate but a very chewy sweet that somehow reminds you of chocolate. I read a fascinating book about the Korean war, "On Desperate Ground" by Hampton Sides. (I will try to do a proper book report on the book for you in the future, someone might need to remind me!)
One thing that I learned from this book..."tootsie rolls" was used as a code name for a type of bullet in the Korean War. When this was ordered, instead of getting bullets, the USA sent the candy instead!
Now, what do you think? I think it is an amazing story, The soldiers loved the Tootsie Rolls, not just to eat them, which they did, of course, but they used them to block up bullet holes in their planes and equipment. Turns out, they were the perfect size to do so. Don't know about you but I love it when a mistake is made, it can turn out to be a good thing.  When the Korean war veterans have their reunions now, they always have Tootsie Rolls on hand.

4.  Lindisfarne Gospels

     When Richard and I were in London in October, we were able to visit the British Library and to actually see the illuminated Lindisfarne Gospels.  Made by monks around 715 on the island of Lindisfarne in Northumberland.  Viking raids drove the monks from this island in 875, they took it to Durham for safekeeping. The manuscript was removed from Durham before the cathedral was built. Now it is safely stored at the British Library in London.  
I was thrilled to recognize something recently...it was a Sound and Light Festival at Durham Cathedral, and it showed the words of the Lindisfarne Gospels displayed in light upon the Cathedral! This was from several years ago, I think, but it was shown on the internet, and that was what I was thrilled to recognize. 

I had to go back and change that seven things to four things, because after all, it seemed wrong to have another item after the Lindesfarne Gospels. It was such a thing to actually  see them and then, to recognize them from the Light Festival photos and videos, well, that just meant a lot to me.

Pansies, colorful Post Oak leaves and Hermit thrush...hope those last two are correct. (All 3 photos were taken on Nov. 29th from my own backyard.) Oaks can be hard to identify, almost as hard as birds. No matter what the trees or birds are named, I love them all!
And those pansies? The deer like them too...

They leave the foliage on the pansies, they just eat the flowers! Oh, deer!