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Knute Rockne, All American

Been watching Knute Rockne, All American, on Turner Classic Movies, this late afternoon.  It’s famous, among other reasons, for having Ronald Reagan playing George Gipp, which leads to Rockne’s locker room speech in which he says, “Go out and get one for The Gipper.”

What amazed me this time through, though, was what a big deal football was to the times and tides of the nation,

Coach Rockne & “The Gipper”

and what a big deal Notre Dame football was (at least, if the movie was

more-0r-less true to the situation, which I believe it was.  I was thinking,

wow, this  movie comes at ya out of a time warp — and then I realized it was

made in 1940 — that is quite a time warp, isn’t it?

Made in 1940, eh?  Well, then, this requires that I run it through the

thought machine inspired by Robert Ray’s amazing book, A Certain

   Tendency in the American Cinema: 1940-1978. Ray examines only movies

that were in the Variety Top 10 Box Office for the years in question,

reasoning that Top Ten movies were popular because they touched a

nerve, fulfilled a fantasy, etc.) So what was going on in the world,

especially in the U.S., in 1940 that explains the success of Knute Rockne,

 All American?

Well, obviously Americans were gripped by war fear and war fever.  So taking solace in football makes sense, as does taking even more solace in the story of the dying teammate George Gipp inspiring superhuman efforts in future Notre Dame players.  Clearly, 1940 was a time for superhuman efforts, for stories about friendship and fear, for talking about overcoming great odds (fighting the German War Machine) and seizing victory from the jaws of defeat.  (Ray spends a good bit of time discussing Casablanca, which also came out in 1940; which also deals with friendships, love, and more than anything else, circumventing the war by staying in Casablanca.)


So Many Things Going On

The many things include an ongoing discussion by Dead Runners Debate on the recent Pres. Obama statements in favor of gay marriage.  They also include reading a story by my friend Bruce Hoch.

First things first:  the discussion of gay marriage reminds me that I’ve currently and for awhile had a crop of gay friends.  And thinking back to high school, I had at least one gay friend, though back then I had no idea what being gay meant or how to react if someone was, or what to do in general.

Grew up in a family where such things were not discussed, where really pretty much nothing was discussed — our family didn’t only not talk about feelings, we didn’t even have feelings.  Feelings were a luxury item, appropriate for others but not for the Pieters family.  So, my friend Murray was, according to Mom, a bit “funny” — well, yes he was, always the bearer of interesting stories or interesting ideas, such as the creation of the Christmas Cheer Committee, a group of  friends who traveled around to houses of those we more-or-less knew during Christmas season, inviting ourselves in for “cheer,” and in return commenting on how well or badly their Christmas decorations displayed their holiday spirit. (I think we were trying to cadge drinks out of adults — but all I remember getting was holiday food.) But “funny” was, I guess, Mom’s code for gay (a word that meant “cheerful” back in the mid-60’s); similarly, she described her alcoholic uncles as heavy drinkers, not having the word “alcoholic” in her vocabulary.

Bruce’s story: It’s called “The Delano Airflow ELegante” (it’s a brand of RV), and in four quick pages Bruce introduces and limns the needs\interests of a 50-ish woman who gets divorced, changes her name, changes her underwear, and initiates a flirtation with her longtime doctor (the story takes place in the doctor’s office, during an examination).   When I read the story’s last line, I said “Wow!” out loud, and then I thought about the stories I might write if I truly had any kind of talent for it.

Which maybe I have; unless I don’t.


May W(h)ine

Hi To My Loyal Reader (hey, maybe I have readers).

Started a little kerfuffle on the Dead Runners Society big list by asking (well, somewhat sarcastically, I guess), “Was this always a marathon list? I thought I remembered that we discussed running and training for all kinds of distances.”

Not being a marathon runner myself, I had become a bit impatient about a somewhat extensive marathon thread, including discussion of a Dead Encounter (where Dead Runners plan to meet to run and hang out) at the Victoria Marathon — yeah, in Canada, just up the road from Seattle.

I don’t do marathons, and I really don’t like to fly — well, ever since flying got so arduous, which seems to have started right after 9\11\2001. So I couldn’t get interested in the Victoria Marathon thread, managed to overlook that there’s a half-marathon as well as an 8k race associated with the marathon, and whined a bit on the list.

Heard from lotsa folks, all Dead friends (fortunately, not dead friends), who gently pointed out that the DRS list does indeed discuss all sorts of running issues, all sorts of distances, all kinds of training.  Correct-o.   And I’ve learned to use the smiley emoticon (:-) when kidding on the Internet.

Ended up with 101 miles for April, and now I have 40.5 miles as of today, May 11th.  So the running is going well, and I have some hope (maybe not high hopes) for going to Victoria in the Fall and running the 8k, or maybe even the half-a-thon.  (Wait?  Did I really type that?  Am I going bat-shit crazy?)