“I am the living death
the memorial day on wheels
I am your Yankee Doodle Dandy
your John Wayne come home
your fourth of July firecracker
exploding in the grave.”
– Ron Kovic, Democratic National Convention, New York City; July 15, 1976.
Ron Kovic, born July 4, 1946; author of “Born on the Fourth of July,” “Around the World in Eight Days,” and “A Dangerous Country.”
“It is true that I have had heartache and tragedy in my life. These are things none of us avoids. Suffering is the price of being alive.”
– Judy Collins
“Both Sides Now”
“Send in the Clowns”
“Turn, Turn, Turn”
“Many receive advice; only the wise profit from it.”
– Harper Lee
Born on this day in 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama, she is known for only two things: authoring “To Kill a Mockingbird” and being friends with fellow writer Truman Capote. Still, for (essentially) a one-hit wonder, she’s left an indelible mark on American literature.
Carol Creighton Burnett was born in San Antonio, Texas on April 26, 1933. She’s had a long and prosperous career, mostly as a comic and parody specialist. But, she’s also proven herself to be a good dramatic actress. Last year she finally received the coveted Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
From “The Garry Moore Show”
From “The Carol Burnett Show”
With Julie Andrews at Carnegie Hall (1962)
With Beverly Sills at the Met (1976)
“I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together”
Born Alfred James Pacino in New York City in 1940, he is another one of my most favored performers. When I was in my teens and 20s, people often said I resembled him, which I considered a stretch. He actually inspired me to contemplate an acting career. But, I ended up focusing on my writing ambitions. Still, a movie with Al Pacino is never dull.
“The Godfather” (1972)
“The Godfather: Part 2” (1974)
“Dog Day Afternoon” (1975)
“Glengarry Glen Ross” (1992)
“Scent of a Woman” (1992)
“Donnie Brasco” (1997)
“Stand Up Guys” (2012)
Pacino as Phil Spector
Born John Joseph Nicholson in 1937 in Neptune, New Jersey, he’s one of a handful of people to win 3 or more acting Oscars. He’s definitely one of my favorite acting personas. There’s no one quite like Jack Nicholson!
“Easy Rider” (1969)
“Five Easy Pieces” (1970)
“The Shining” (1980)
“A Few Good Men” (1992)
“The Departed” (2006)
Well, I’ve finally reached that critical milestone: the half century mark. I honestly can’t believe it. And, I’ll be damned if I still don’t look a day over 47!
I probably have about as many years ahead of me as behind me. But, despite a lifetime of worrying about the small details, I wouldn’t trade it in for anything. I could easily reflect on what I haven’t achieved by now: I never got married; never had kids; didn’t join the U.S. Navy like I’d wanted 25 or so years ago; still haven’t gotten my novel published; haven’t visited Yosemite; didn’t invest in that turbo penis pump.
But, I’d rather reflect on what I have achieved: I did finish that novel; I earned my college degree; I’ve become closer to my family; I got hold of my alcohol problems; I learned not to let stupid crap bother me all the time; I didn’t waste money on that turbo penis pump.
I consider the alternative to turning 50 – never getting there! In September, I wrote about the 20th anniversary of the death of one of my best friends. He was just a month shy of his 32nd birthday. I look at the casualty lists of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and almost cry at the ages of the young victims. I don’t want to get sentimental on you folks, but it makes me thankful for this birthday and every birthday. Thanks to all of you for your visits and comments!
Image courtesy of Planet Minecraft.
Born Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo García de Estefan in Havana, Cuba on September 1, 1957, she fled to the U.S. with her family in the early 1960s and went on to become the “Queen of Latin Pop.” Starting with the Miami Sound Machine in the mid-1980s, she transitioned into an equally successful solo career.
“Don’t Wanna Lose You”
“Rhythm Is Gonna Get You”
“Turn the Beat Around”
In case you missed it, Nelson Mandela turned 95 today. The legendary human rights activist has few equals in the relentless battles for justice and dignity. He was born Rolihlahla Mandela on July 18, 1918, in the tiny village of Mvezo, on the banks of the Mbashe River in Transkei, South Africa. “Rolihlahla” in the Xhosa language literally means “pulling the branch of a tree,” but is often translated as “troublemaker.” For Mandela, that turned out to be a good thing. Throughout most of his left, South Africa was a staunchly and racially segregated nation; where the descendants of Dutch and English settlers held the bulk of the wealth and power over the Black citizens who had occupied the region for millennia. In 1942, Mandela joined the African National Congress, an organization devoted to reverting centuries of brutal oppression. For his efforts, he was rewarded with a lengthy prison sentence and the label of terrorist. He was finally freed in 1990 and rebuilt his life as a crusader for human rights.
He celebrated his birthday from a hospital where’s he been for several weeks now. He doesn’t have many years ahead of him, but his legacy of hope and determination is unparalleled.
Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory.
Born William Henry Cosby in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 12, 1937, Bill Cosby is one of America’s truly comedic gems. His outlook on family life is pretty much unparalleled and what makes him especially unique. He reminds me of my own father: the older he gets, he doesn’t just get funnier; he becomes totally irreverent and unapologetically honest.