September 30, 2009
Living up here in the Great White North – Canada, I always enjoy seeing somewhere else get that early snowfall.
So for all my American friends here is a photo of snow in Colorado on September 29th.
Here in Calgary, Alberta it is getting cooler but still well above freezing and definitely no snow. Unfortunately my time will come, but in the meantime I have this photo to show it could be worse.
September 25, 2009
Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump
Just south of Calgary, where I live, there is a significant historic site.
It’s called Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump and it’s a World Heritage Site as designated by UNESCO.
The site was in use for over 10,000 years by Native Americans.
The bison (buffalo) herds were driven into a chute by the Natives on the top of the cliff and forced over the cliff. When they hit the bottom they died or were severely wounded. Natives at the bottom finished off the survivors and then butchered them. The tribe had food to last the long hard winter. Every part of the bison was used. Nothing was wasted.
At the site there is a great interpretative centre manned by First Nations people who convey their heritage and history to visitors.
The illustration is a Canadian stamp issued a few years ago to draw attention to it and other historic sites in Canada.
September 8, 2009
as Will Kane in High Noon
I’ve often driven along I-15 and passed through Helena, Montana without a thought. Recently I discovered it was the birthplace and boyhood home of one of my Hollywood idols, Gary Cooper.
“Coop” as he was known to his peers was born Frank James Cooper May 7, 1901 in Helena. He lived there until he was in his early 20’s. His father was a judge on the Montana Supreme Court. In 1924 they moved to Los Angeles. He started in movies as an extra or stand-in for western stars. His first credited role came in 1925 in “Lightnin’ Wins”. Coop accepted a long-term contract with Paramount Pictures and changed his name to Gary.
He won two Academy Awards for Best Actor. The first in 1942 for Sergeant York, and the second in 1953 for his role as Will Kane in High Noon. This is his best known role. In total he received five nominations for Best Actor in his career. Other movies and roles of note include The Pride of the Yankees (Lou Gehrig), and one of my faves Vera Cruz.
He died on May 13, 1961 at the age of 60 of cancer. Six months prior he was awarded an honorary Oscar by the Academy. He was too ill to attend so his close friend James Stewart accepted it on his behalf.
Coop made over 100 movies from 1925 until just before his death in 1961.
On September 10, 2009 the USPS will issue a stamp in the Legends of Hollywood series honoring Gary Cooper. To the left is the image of the 44c commemorative stamp. First Day of Issue is Los Angeles, CA.
September 1, 2009
Today is the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War. The worst conflict of the 20th century the effects of which changed the world we live in today. It’s been described as the last “good” war because it was clear to everyone what we were fighting for, good versus evil.
Veterans of this war are dying everyday. We are rapidly losing our direct connections to this time. My father and two of his brothers served. His youngest brother paid the ultimate price.
It’s important in my opinion not to forget those who fought and especially those who gave their lives in the cause of freedom.
I’m fascinated with the stories of those who fought. It’s amazing to me how they suffered through it and got the job done. I’m not all that interested in generals and vast battle plans. I love to read about the men on the front lines, the average soldier. That’s who won the war.
I like to recommend the following for reading,
The War by Ken Burns (companion to the PBS Series)
Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose
Citizen Soldiers by Stephen Ambrose
The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw