Sunday, January 31, 2010
The bat swinging fellow above is one Jackie Robinson, born this day 1919 in Cairo, Georgia. Of course he is widely known as the man to break the colour barrier and play in the Major Leagues. He took a long road to get there, being born the son of a sharecropper in Georgia, moving to California, joining the military during WWII, and starring in track and field at UCLA. That long road eventually led to Ebbets Field on April 15th, 1947 when he made his major league debut in a 5-3 Dodgers win. The Dodgers had an All-Star at second base, the position Robinson normally played, and so for his first year in the big leagues he played first base. Anywhere would do I suppose, just as long as you are in the show. During his first year the Dodger clubhouse had some fellows who were not fond of the idea of playing alongside Robinson, but manager Leo Durocher quelled the racial tensions by saying "I do not care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a fuckin' zebra. I'm the manager of this team, and I say he plays. What's more, I say he can make us all rich. And if any of you cannot use the money, I will see that you are all traded." That pretty much settled that, and Robinson went on to star for the Dodgers for a Hall of Fame 12 year career. He even played himself in a movie about his life. He faced a lot of abuse during his early playing days, and always responded to it on the field. In fact, when he first became eligible to be voted into the baseball Hall of Fame, he implored voters to vote for it, if they were going to, based upon what he did on the field, not on his cultural impact on the game. He was elected on the first ballot, and I can only think/hope that it is what he did on the field that counted. He retired in 1957, after a 12 year career that will never be forgotten in the long annals of Major League Baseball. In an era of overpaid, overweight, steroid taking asshats, baseball could do well to find another Jackie Robinson to save it from itself. So, for playing America's pastime with such skill, and taking such unwarranted racial abuse with grace, and patience, Jackie Robinson (January 31st, 1919-October 24th, 1973, of a heart attack at the age of 53), you are my (159th) hero of the day.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
After spending the greater part of yesterday's icy day playing cards, then falling down and busting my lard ass on that ice, today I had to post a little bit about the nature of the games we play. We being the five other idiot friends of mine who thought it would be a good idea to play a "snow day poker game." The idea for that game was first mooted at 11 a.m., the first cards were dealt about 3:30 p.m. Did I mention we are idiots, my friends and I? We decided to fiddle, fart, and fuck around for 4 daylight hours, and wait until it was near dusk to start playing. The idea was further strengthened by the fact that about the time we started assembling to play it began to piss down (frozen) rain. If it is possible to piss down frozen rain. We did not want to play during the day, when nature was taking a break from pelting sleet down upon us. Where is the fun in that? Let's play at dark in the middle of the worst of the storm, so we can drink a few beers, and then about 11 p.m. risk life and limb getting home. This just goes to show you what a clever lot of fellows we are. Of course, each and every one of us has an advanced degree in something. Proving that education is no bar to acting a clown. Either way, we all made it home alive (as far as I know), and no one pulled a gun on anybody else in the 6 hours or so of poker playing that we did. We played a variety of poker games, but the most popular (except with me, since I can not fathom the rules) is Omaha Hi-Lo. A terrible, terrible game that seems to cause mass confusion, but nevertheless my band of intrepid friends fell in love with it. By hour four of this marathon there were five of us left, and four of them called Omaha almost every time they dealt. It was a money game, and did I mention we are idiots? Idiots playing a money game that one of us did not understand at all, and the other four seemed to have only a loose grasp of the rules. It was great fun, and one fellow lost quiet a chunk of change because he became determined to win a hand of Omaha regardless. He finally did, about three hours into it, and managed to rake a pot of about 5 bucks. That 5 bucks would not even come close to making him even for the night. I usually just folded my Omaha hand, and waited until it was my deal to change the game to draw poker. A simple game, and one that I grew up playing (it is the game that Hawkeye Pierce helped teach me), I did quite well at it, and was able to win a tidy little sum. A good time was had by all (or at least by most), and sliding out of the door at 11 p.m. and landing on my ass was the icing on the idiot cake. Luckily I had enough beer in me that I was unable to feel too much of the pain from the slip. Only my dignity (what little I have) was injured. This little glimpse into my rock start like personal life is just a way of me saying that for today, January 30th, there is no hero of the day.
P.S. How cool is it that W.C. Fields' granddaughter posted a comment on my blog post about him. Or least someone claiming to be her. I guess my fame is spreading, and I should probably be careful that I do not libel anyone in the near future.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
A two for one hero day today. The fellow above in one E.T.A. Hoffman born this day 1776 in Konigsberg, East Prussia. He was the son of a jurist, and would follow in the family tradition. After a somewhat unhappy childhood, our boy Hoffman, at the tender age of 20, he got just a bit too "attached" to a married woman, and had six children. The family protested that Hoffman was a bit too close to their relation, and he was shipped off to an uncle in Silesia. His time with his uncle was spent passing exams in order to become a jurist, and attempting (unsuccessfully) to become a composer. From 1800 to 1803 he had moved on to the province of Greater Poland, this was his first time outside the supervision of his family, and he took advantage of it to live a "dissolute" life style. He got married during this time, but an indiscretion at his job led to him being promoted (which really meant exiled) to a post in New East Prussia. He despaired of his exile, but did take the time in exile to begin composing, and writing short stories. It was those short stories, and his critical reviews of music that were to make him famous. He wrote the story that the Christmas favourite "The Nutcracker" is based upon. He had some rough times during the Napoleonic Wars, and his family was involved in the Battle of Dresden. He eventually settled back in Berlin, and was reappointed his job as a jurist that he had previously lost. He even managed to get an opera performed successful on the Berlin stage, but alcohol abuse, and the effects of syphilis were taking their toll. He was paralyzed by 1822, and his last works were dictated to either his wife or his secretary. He died on (my birthday) June 25th, 1822 at the age of 46. However, for writing fiction that showed him a pioneer of the fantasy genre (being a major influence on Edgar Allan Poe), E.T.A. Hoffman (January 24th 1776-June 25th, 1822, at the age of 46) you are my (153rd) hero of the day.
The beribboned fellow above is one Gustav III of Sweden born this day 1746 in Stockholm, Sweden. Born the heir to the throne, he received a spotty education but had a natural intelligence which he used to read widely, and he could be considered a fairly bright boy. He married, by proxy, a daughter of the King of Denmark, and dutifully produced his heir to the throne, but the marriage was an unhappy one and there were (unfounded) rumors that Gustav was a little light in the loafers. Upon his ascension, he had to deal with a bitterly divided political nation. The Caps and the Hats were the two main factions, and they were not in a making nice kind of mood. When he open his first Riksdag in June of 1771 by giving a speech in Swedish, he became the first Swedish monarch to do so in more than a century. The attempts of the dominant Cap faction, that wanted him to be a powerless king, and to have Sweden under the sway of Russia, made him contemplate a revolution. Exactly how a King can lead a revolution remains a mystery to me, but it seems our boy Gustav pulled it off. No mean feat to lead a revolution when you are the guy, nominally at least, in charge. I suppose it speaks to his ability, and to his persuasiveness that he led a "successful" one. Or at least for a while, the first Riksdag he called after the revolution was quite docile, and passed many of the reforms that Gustav wanted. However, the next time around, in 1786, the deputies of that body were not quite so friendly. I suppose the realization that instead of a powerless king they had become a rather powerless Riksdag had set in. Like most reformers, Gustav had made some powerful enemies, and they had plans for the King. Those plans came to fruition at a masked ball at the Royal Opera House (a place that Gustave had commissioned to be built), and they did not include giving him a bunch of roses. He was shot in the back by one of the conspirators, but lived until almost 3 weeks until the wound, which had become infected, killed him off. His last words were ag känner mig sömnig, några ögonblicks vila skulle göra mig gott ("I feel sleepy, a few moments rest would do me good"). He got more than a little rest, he got eternal rest. However, he was a damn fine King, and is credited with creating Swedish theatre, and even was a fair hand as a playwright. He also founded the Swedish Academy, you know the group of fellows who now days hand out Nobel prizes. So, for being an enlightened monarch that was somehow about to lead, and survive a revolution, Gustav III (January 24th, 1746- March 29th, 1792, at the age of 46) you are my (152nd) hero of the day.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Back on to the right track today with the fellow above, our 151st hero of the day. His name is Marie-Henri Beyle, but he is much more famous under his pen name of Stendhal. He was born this day 1783, in Grenoble, France. He is another of my sad hero bunch that suffered an unhappy childhood, bored with life in the provinces of France, and disliking his unimaginative father. His mother died when he was a young lad, and his education was put into the hands of a pious aunt and a Jesuit priest, both of whom he detested. At the tender age of 16, he moved to Pairs to pursue a career as a playwright. However, history intervened, and your Henri joined the French army in 1800, and became a lieutenant in the dragoons. He saw action in Italy, Germany, and Russia. In 1814, he was placed on half-pay and moved to Italy. There he experienced such an overwhelming physical reaction to the art and beauty of the country that a syndrome was named after him. The Stendhal Syndrome is the psychosomatic reaction to an overdose of beautiful art that can lead to confusion and hallucinations. He was forced to move back to Paris in 1823, and seven years later the book for which I hold him in hero status appeared. "The Red and the Black" is a lovely book, and its hero/villain is a character that both repulses, and attracts. Stendhal's use of irony, and his ability to tell a good story are amazing, and it is a book well worth reading. He was a bit of a dandy about Paris, and had a few romantic trysts worthy of mention, and even wrote fairly sympathetic female characters. He is mentioned favourably by Simone de Beauvoir in her book "The Second Sex." In one of those romantic trysts he managed to contract syphilis, and suffered greatly from it during his later years. He dropped dead from apoplexy on the streets of Paris in 1842 at the age of 59. So, for writing that one (and a couple of others) fine, psychological novel, that I need to go back and reread, Marie-Henri Beyle (January 23rd, 1783- March 23rd, 1842, at the age of 59), you are my hero of the day.
I realize I am a day late, and probably a dollar short, but sometimes life is just happening too quickly to sort out the hero the day in time. Either way, the smoothly dressed fellow above is one George Gordon otherwise known as Lord Byron born January 22nd, 1788 in London, England. He was the son of a sea captain, and the woman he married for her money. He had a childhood that included a governess that would crawl into his bed when he was 11 years old, and "play tricks with his person." After the typical English schooling which saw him be on the field for the first ever Harrow vs Eton cricket game, he spent some time traveling in the Near East. In 1812, he embarked on a scandalous love affair with the married Lady Caroline Lamb. It was to be one of many dangerous affairs he would have, and long after Byron broke off the affair, Lady Caroline stalked him by coming to his house dressed as a page boy. She supposedly was a bit off in the head, and sent him letter containing her pubic hair. Losing Byron made her so upset that she lost a lot of weight, and Byron cruelly remarked that he was being "haunted by a skeleton." It was Lady Caroline that famously said that Byron was "mad, bad, and dangerous to know." He eventually married a cousin of Lady Caroline in 1815, but the married was not a happy one with rumors of abuse, and it lasted barely over a year. He left England in 1816, mostly to get away from the frowning public opinion about his personal life. He was not to return to his native soil alive. The last eight years of his life were spent abroad, living the high life on the continent. Living in Genoa from 1821-1823 he was drawn to the plight of the Greeks that were seeking independence from the Ottoman Empire. He went to Greece, and in spite of his lack of military training, decided to help the Greek army fight for their independence. It was here that he caught the violent fever that was to kill him at the age of 36. It was literature's great loss. Some of his poems are just fucking masterful "She Walks in Beauty like the Night" is one of my favourites, and Don Juan is not a bad piece of writing either. He and I shared a common affliction, we both have/had a club foot. We even share the fact that it is our right foot that is the club foot. Byron was quite sensitive about his affliction, not allowing portraits of him to show the club foot. He was one wild man, and lived his life like a wild man. So for living that life to the limits, and writing some damn fine poetry, and being a real life hero to the Greeks, George Gordon, Lord Byron (January 22nd, 1788- April 19th, 1824, at the age of 36), you are my (150th) hero of the day.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The carefully drawn fellow above is one Eugene Sue, born this day 1804 in Paris, France. He was the son of a famous surgeon in Napoleon's army, and the Empress Josephine was his godmother. Not a bad start to your life, it beats being born the son of a nobody plumber, and not have a godmother at all. Or so I would think. However, money is no guarantee of happiness, and young Sue endured an unhappy childhood. It seems the major source of his unhappiness was his relationship with his father. I guess Doctor Daddy did not want some layabout writer as a son. His mother died young, so our boy Sue lost an important buffer in respects to his father. His education was a bit hit and miss, with it being more miss than hit. He was not too thrilled with the idea of following in the father's footsteps and becoming a doctor, he prefer to draw, and to create things with his imagination. Imagination and doctoring have very little, if anything, in common, and Sue left school in 1821 with no formal qualifications. He eventually found himself enlisted in the navy as a auxiliary surgeon third class, and actually saw battle in 1827. He quit the service in 1830, and moved back to Paris. During his absence his father had died, and left Sue a considerable fortune. I guess being a disappointment as a child did not disqualify him as the heir to the throne, and with his inheritance Sue was set for life. Or so he thought, it seems that upon his return he decided to live the high life. Wine, women, and song, and of course the ponies. Those little hobbies led to him blowing through most of his fortune by 1837. If all else fails write a book or two and hope for the best, and Sue did manage that. He, in his prime, was more popular that Dumas pere, and Balzac. He wrote popular novels, and based some of them on his experiences in the navy. He was called the king of the serial novel, and that is no mean feat considering the competition. However, his insistence upon writing upon topical subjects has led to him falling into virtual oblivion today. I would not say that he is a great author, and it may be that oblivion is where he belongs, but in his prime he was a damn fine read. A sort of French version of James Fenimore Cooper. Not going to make you ponder the nature of the universe, but going to give you a good, decent yarn for your money. And sometimes a good yarn is a whole more fun than pondering the nature of the universe. So, for writing those yarns, and being a proper man about town during a great period of French Literature, Eugene Sue (January 20th, 1804- August 3rd, 1857, at the age of 53) you are my (148th) hero of the day.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
The pipe smoking fellow above, our 145th hero of the day, is on A.A. Milne born this day 1882 in London, England. He was lucky enough, as a child, to be taught for a year by H.G. Wells. He then went on to attend Cambridge where his writings for the student newspaper caught the eye of the humour magazine "Punch." He soon became a contributor, and later an assistant editor at Punch. He got himself all married up in 1913, and 1920 his only child, a son named Christopher Robin, was born. That name sound familiar? I hope so for it was the books that Milne wrote for, and starring his son, that puts him on the hero list for today. In all Milne wrote four volumes of stories (from 1926 to 1928) with Pooh and his friends as them subject. It became a smashing hit, but it also became his millstone. Milne did not stop writing with the Pooh stories, but he became a victim of his own success. His fame rests almost completely on the Pooh books, and this was to become, in his lifetime, a source of great annoyance to Milne. His goal as a writer was to "write what I want to write". A noble goal if there ever was one, but sort of like Conan Doyle and his Holmes stories, the public was much more interested in Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore, than any other writings of Milne, and by the late 1930's the audience for his grown up writings had virtually vanished. I guess sometimes you can be too successful. We all have our favourite Pooh character, I know several Eeyore's and a couple of Rabbits. I myself have always been a fan of Tigger, after all the wonderful thing about Tigger's is that "I'm the only one." A clarion call for individualist's around the world if there every was one. So, for creating those timeless characters living in the Hundred Acre Wood, A.A. Milne (January 18th, 1882-January 31st, 1956, at the age of 74), you are my hero of the day.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
The dashing fellow above is on Charles Boyer, and today is NOT his birthday, but with the dearth of actual heroes born on today's date, and since I am getting old of writing the "no hero of the day post", I decided to pull M. Boyer out of the past and celebrate today as his birthday. Our 143rd hero of the day was born August 28th, 1899 in Midi-Pyrenees, France. He moved to Paris from the small town of his birth in order to continue his education, but he found the call of the theatre too much to deny, and began taking small acting parts. He had a few decent roles, and had been signed to a contract before 1929, but it was in 1938's "Algiers" as the thief Pepe le Moko (where in the trailer for the film he invited Hedy Lamarr to "come with me to the Casbah") that gets him on the hero board for me. This line would stick with him for years, thanks mainly to imitators, and that his character in the movie became the basis for the Looney Tune character Pepe le Pew. He was nominated for an Oscar four times, but never won. One of those nominations was for 1944's "Gaslight" co-starring another hero(ine) Ingrid Bergman. It is a fantastic film, and he gives a fantastic performance. In contrast to his on screen image of a suave, dashing, rake, Boyer began losing his hair early, and was, by all accounts, a bookish reserved man in real life. He spoke five languages and was married only once, and it lasted 44 years. Near the end of his career he recorded an album of love songs that were merely spoken by him in his deep, distinctive voice with his rich French accent. It was reportedly Elvis Presley's favourite album during the last 11 years of the king's life. No bad for a romantic actor with a receding hairline, and a pot belly. That 44 year marriage was truly the "death do us part" type, and Boyer committed suicide two days after his wife's death from cancer, and two days before his own 79th birthday in 1978. But, for making a line famous that he never spoke in the actual movie, and being one suave son of a bitch, Charles Boyer (August 28th, 1899- August 26th, 1978, at the age of 78), you are my (substitute) hero of the day.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
P.S. and tomorrow is not looking too good either.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Saturday, January 09, 2010
The lovely lady above is our 139th hero(ine) of the day. Her name is Simone de Beauvoir, born this day 1908 in Paris, France. She was the daughter of an one time lawyer, and part time actor who did not make it a secret that he wanted a son. He did tell her that she had "the brain of a man", and at that time that was an important thing for her to hear. She decided at the age of 15 that she wanted to be a writer, and was drawn to the subject of philosophy. She attended the Sorbonne, and at the age of 21 became the youngest person, and only the 9th woman to obtain the agregation in Philosophy. She took 2nd place on the final examination with Jean-Paul Sartre (her long time lover), who was taking the exam for the second time, took 1st. There was apparently a great deal of discussion about who should get the 1st, but Sartre was eventually awarded it. I suspect it had something to do with his gender, but that is just my humble opinion. It was at the Sorbonne that she obtained her life long nickname Castor, the French word for beaver. She wrote several books, and won the Goncourt Prix for "The Mandarins" in 1954. However, the book that brought her to my attention many moons ago is "The Second Sex" a ground breaking book that set out feminist existentialism. In it she argues that man has always been the ideal that woman are supposed to live up to, and that women had been considered deviant. Beauvoir stated that this belief had always made women outsiders, and that the deviant assumption had to be set aside to allow women to move forward on par with men. For that work and many others, she is considered the mother of post-1968 feminism, and that is something to write home about. It is the kind of feminism, that as a sexist pig man can support, not the shave your head, in your face, men are the root of all evil (which may be true), type of feminism. A thinking woman's (or man's) feminism. For writing that book, and for some many other contributions to the world of literature, feminism, and philosophy, Simone de Beauvoir (January 9th, 1908-April 14th, 1986, at the age of 78), you are my heroine of the day.
Friday, January 08, 2010
"Graham Chapman, co-author of the Parrot Sketch, is no more.
He has ceased to be. Bereft of life, he rests in peace. He's kicked the bucket, hopped the twig, bit the dust, snuffed it, breathed his last, and gone to meet the great Head of Light Entertainment in the sky. And I guess that we're all thinking how sad it is that a man of such talent, of such capability for kindness, of such unusual intelligence, should now so suddenly be spirited away at the age of only forty-eight, before he'd achieved many of the things of which he was capable, and before he'd had enough fun.
Well, I feel that I should say: nonsense. Good riddance to him, the freeloading bastard, I hope he fries.And the reason I feel I should say this is he would never forgive me if I didn't, if I threw — threw away this glorious opportunity to shock you all on his behalf. Anything for him but mindless good taste"
So, for making millions of people laugh, and still being able to sing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" while freezing his ass off tied to a cross, Graham Chapman (January 8th-1941- October 4th, 1989, at the age of 48), you are my (second) hero of the day.
The smiling fellow above is number 137 on my hero list, and his name is Stephen Hawking. He was born this day 1942 in Oxford, England. I know that today is also Elvis Presley's birthday, and considering where I live he should probably be a hero, but I just never cared for his music that much (my mother, on the other hand, thinks he hung the moon. I guess swiveling hips are her kind of thing). Instead, I choose the fellow above, and he is probably one of the smartest ten people on the planet. I confess that all I have read by him was his "Brief History of Time", and most of it sailed lazily over my head. The parts I did (I think) understand made me so depressed that I figured I would leave Mr. Hawkins' writing alone for a while for my own sake. He is quite simply a fucking genius. A genius that, as you can tell by the photo above, has had MASSIVE physical obstacles to overcome, but has managed, with a lot of help, to overcome then enough to have been the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University for the last thirty years. You generally don't get that type of gig if you are a moron, and he is far and away one of the brightest minds dealing with black holes, and theoretical physics in the world. When he first got the disease that put him in the wheelchair, ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease, he was told he had two to three years to live. That was when he was 21, today he is 68 and still alive, but has had to retire from the Professorship due to his illness. However, for showing us all that the mind is free of the body's disabilities in spectacular fashion, Dr. Stephen Hawking (January 8th, 1942-present), you, and not Elvis, are my hero of the day.
P.S. I know I said I would catch up with the hero parade, and post one for yesterday, but I searched and was unable to find one. Therefore, since it is my blog, and my rules apply the post about my little secret will have to suffice, but for form's sake I will, with regret, have to say that for January 7th, there is no hero of the day.
Thursday, January 07, 2010
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Monday, January 04, 2010
Sunday, January 03, 2010
Saturday, January 02, 2010
The fellow above is one Count Folke Bernadotte born this day 1895 in Stockholm, Sweden. He has the honour of being the new years first human hero, and is number 132 on the hero list. Those of you who know your Swedish history (both of you), will recognize our boy's last name as a fairly famous one in Sweden. It (Bernadotte) is the name of the ruling house of Sweden, and our boy's grandfather was none other than King Oscar II of Sweden. Big name, big expectations to have to live up to, but Folke did his best, and managed to make it to hero status. Which I am sure will be a consolation to his surviving family members. After attending school in Stockholm, Bernadotte joined the military and was commissioned a cavalry lieutenant in 1918. He got himself a little American wife in 1928, and starting making babies. In 1943 he was appointed to be vice chairman of the Swedish Red Cross. It was in this post that he performed the feat that landed him on my hero list. After the death of Adolph Hitler, Bernadotte began negotiations with Himmler for the release of thousands of Danish and Norwegian POW's from concentration camps in Germany. This was the famous "White Buses" mission, named for the buses used to transport POW's that were painted entirely white except for a red cross on the side. This was done to make absolutely sure that no one could mistake the buses for a military target. It was estimated that Bernadotte's mission saved around 31,000 people from the concentration camps including between 6,5000 and 11,000 Jews (the irony of this will become clear later). After the end of World War II, he was appointed the first ever official UN mediator. His task was to meditate the violence that had broken out in Palestine between Jewish and Arab factions. His attempt to settle the disputes between the groups was not successful, and he was criticized by Jewish groups for being insensitive to the loss of Jewish settlers lives. Not stopping at criticism, Jewish terrorists (yes there was such a thing, no need to avoid calling a spade a fucking spade), assassinated Bernadotte on September 17th, 1948. There is your irony for you, a man who had saved thousands of Jewish lives during World War II at great risk to himself and members of his organization was gunned down by members of the Zionists group Lehi. This group's reasoning for killing Bernadotte is as big a pile of shit as you will ever want to see, and smacks of such hypocrisy that it makes you want to puke. The murder was condemned by the United Nations, and rightfully so, it making very little sense to, in cold blood, kill the man sent to try and help bring you peace. I am no Jew hater by any stretch of the imagination, but you have to wonder if perhaps because his killers were Zionists rather than Arabs if this little incident has went down much more quietly in history than it should have. No one was ever charged with the killing, and relations were a bit frosty for a while between Sweden and Israel. Israel did try to smooth things over by planting a forest in Bernadotte's name, and at a ceremony in 1995 issued a statement expressing regret at his murder in a terrorist way. Big deal, a few fucking trees, and a regret about the manner of his death. Tell that shit story to his widow and fourteen year old son. Either way for standing up and doing the right thing, and for saving all those thousands of lives (even the Jewish ones), Count Folke Bernadotte (January 2nd, 1895- September 17th 1948, at the age of 53), you are my hero of the day.
Friday, January 01, 2010
We are almost up to date on our hero trek. Today's (December 31st's that is) hero is the smooth looking fellow above, one Anthony Hopkins born December 31st, 1937 in Port Talbot, Wales. Number 130 on our hero list was born the son of a baker, and did have a productive schooling due to his having dyslexia. He was encouraged to go into acting by country man Richard Burton, and has made quite a career of it. He was spotted by Sir Laurence Olivier, and impressed Sir Laurence enough to become his understudy at the Royal National Theatre. He soon grew tired of repeating the same role night after night, and longed to be in films. His first film just happens to be in one of my favourite films of all time "The Lion in Winter" his first film role, in which he plays Richard the Lion Hearted. That role was to propel him to stardom, and quite a few (well known) roles followed. Most people will know him from the role of Hannibal Lecter, the role for which he won an Academy Award (his screen time of 16 minuets being the shortest amount of time on screen for a winner of the Best Actor Award). However, a much earlier role, that of Captain Bligh alongside Mel Gibson as Fletcher Christian in "Mutiny on the Bounty" is one of my favourite roles of his. Not a great film, but one that he impressed me with his acting ability. He is renowned for his acting style in which he works on his lines over and over, sometimes repeating them upwards of 200 times before walking on camera to deliver them in an almost casual style. He appeared in numerous other films that people will easily remember him for Remains of the Day, Howard's End, and Legends of the Fall, but he has stated that his favourite role was as Burt Monro in "The World's Fastest Indian" a role that I doubt too many of us have seen. However, for those couple of roles that I actually did see, and was incredibly impressed with, Sir Anthony Hopkins (December 31st, 1937- present), you are my hero of the day (December 31st).