Tuesday, December 25, 2018

T.S. Eliot and a Christmas wish

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. -- T. S. Eliot

This quote from poet T.S. Eliot haunts me.  What's the most important thing one learns on this long journey called life?   Will I look back one day and discover that what matters most, is what I lived and learned as a child?

About 15 years ago I heard the quote while watching and listening to one of the most powerful and incisive documentaries I've ever seen called, "The Fog of War".

Directed by Errol Morris, the film walks the viewer through 20th century American history as lived and told by Robert S. McNamara.  Don't be misled by the title; Mr. McNamara's heartfelt and detailed ruminations, the film clips, music by Phillip Glass, and the still photos, all work together to capture one hundred years of American experience above and beyond war involvement.

"The Fog of War" was an Academy Award Winner for best documentary feature in 2003 and I'll recommend it until the day I'm no longer able to write.

As I write today, I wish that you will know this Christmas season of 2018, as fondly as the one you knew for the first time.   

Saturday, August 11, 2018

A new book from Jonathan Hoenig

This coming November, Capitalist Pig Hedge Fund manager and business media figure, Jonathan Hoenig will release A New Textbook of Americanism: The Politics of Ayn Rand.  The book, edited by Mr. Hoenig, contains a collection of essays from notable writers in the Objectivist school, including one from Mr. Hoenig himself ("On Property Rights").  

Cover page image courtesy of J. Hoenig
Public Twitter Image - Jonathan Hoenig

Monday, May 28, 2018

A local hero to recall on Memorial Day

Somehow I missed this local news article about two years ago on the 72nd anniversary of D-Day.  Yesterday, however, I met the gentleman who was the subject of that piece, Mr. Ralph Ticcioni of New Berlin, Wisconsin. (Disclosure: Ralph is Uncle to one of my brothers-in-law).  

French Legion of Honour recipient, Ralph Ticcioni
John Maddente photo
I couldn't have been more surprised to discover his story.  As I listened to the 95 year old veteran speak, I marveled at his deep humility.  As mentioned, the details of his D-Day jump with the 82nd Airborne Division (and subsequent trip back to Normandy 72 years later) is told in this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article by Meg Jones.  

As a paratrooper that fateful day, Ralph along with thousands of his comrades were dropped behind enemy lines.  Unlike his comrades, he landed smack onto a farm rooftop in Cherbourg, France whereupon he had to cut himself loose from his own parachute which was entangled on a weather vane.  Some history readers and viewers of the movie, Saving Private Ryan will recall that Cherbourg was a location of critical importance during the invasion.  

Speaking of the movie, Ralph told me that when he viewed the first twenty minutes; he thought he was watching an actual news reel of the event.  (Other D-Day veterans have expressed a similar reaction to that film segment).   

Ralph could recall the gear he carried that day, including the amount of ammunition and all the weapons he was issued which included a sidearm (.45 caliber semiautomatic pistol), several hand grenades and a Thompson sub-machine gun (which was swapped for an M1 Carbine rifle after paratroopers reunited with American supply units).  

So pleased to have met this man yesterday.  To all like him, living or not, I say thank you for defending freedom and God bless you.