my top five favorite war movies

note: this is a Real Life photo, not a screenshot from a movie – I put it in the post because, well, I like it.

You’ll probably notice that most of the movies on the list I’m about to share with you are Old Movies.  The ones made in the forties and fifties and sixties, (in fact, there are only three modern films shared out between the favorites and runners-up), and there’s a reason for that.  War films made in that time era feel much more real to me, and I think it’s because WWII wasn’t just some distant, faded memory for the actors and directors and writers (or a memory of a memory of a memory like it is for younger people like me), it was real, something that all of them experienced in some way or another.  They had a story to tell, and they told it.  There’s a sort of energetic intensity about old war films that I love.

(Also, the fact that all except two of these movies are set during WWII doesn’t mean I have a bias against WWI or the Civil War or the American Revolution – I’ve just hardly watched any movies set in those time periods.)

In random order.

{The Devil’s Brigade}

LIMITED RUN! ONE DAY ONLY! ENDS SUNDAY NIGHT! "The Devil's Brigade" (1968) | Jerry's Hollywoodland Amusement And Trailer Park

I believe The Devil’s Brigade was one of the first WWII movies I watched, and even though I was in my ‘not interested in WWII and old movies’ stage, I found myself interested in spite of myself.  For one thing, there wasn’t a lot of, as I put it, ‘mind-numbing’ fighting (at least not at first), it was simply the story of two different Allied forces that had to learn how to work together – in this case, the Americans and Canadians.  There was lots of entertaining brawling and funny moments and I quite liked it, ‘for a war movie’.  A couple months ago, I decided to re-watch it, and it was just as good (better!) than I’d remembered.  It’s great how the Canadians are actually focused on and presented in such a good way (just check out this scene, if you want proof). (Ashley, if we ever meet, WE ARE WATCHING THIS MOVIE.)  The Devil’s Brigade isn’t without is sad parts (particularly the death of two characters I’d grown rather fond of), but overall it’s a fun movie with lots of glorious moments of teamwork and hilarious bits of dialogue. (The main theme is worth checking out, by the way.  Very militaristic, of course, but a great piece of music in its own right, too.)

{Saints & Soldiers}

Saints and Soldiers - Christian Movie/Film on DVD/Blu-ray.

I’ve reviewed this already, so I’ll just direct you to that post.  Highly emotional, highly amazing, and highly recommended.  And available on Youtube.

{The Longest Day}

6/18/14  9:10p 20th Century Fox  ''The Longest Day''  All Star Cast  Poster  1962  Best Picture Oscar Nom

Oh, man.  This film blows my mind. (As does the book.)  There are so many story lines and plot threads and characters and they’re all woven into one, big, epic piece of cinema history.  Just thinking about it gives me chills.  I suggest watching this film one rainy afternoon (or evening), with as few distractions as possible, so you can concentrate and fully absorb the scope and overflowing awesomeness (used in the ‘awe-inspiring’ sense).  There’s the grand sweep of the overall story, along with the tiny details of each soldier’s and civilian’s story, and by the end, as the theme music starts up as vehicles roll and men walk out through Omaha beach, I felt…satisfied.  There’s really no other word I can use.  Three hours of little threads of story all combining to form a narrative tapestry that’s nearly unbelievable in how it all fits together so perfectly, like a thousand-piece puzzle.  The Longest Day is hugely satisfying, because it gives you an experience.  Not just a movie, an experience. (And, again, listen to the theme.)

{Pork Chop Hill}

This is my sister’s movie.  Or, so she says.  According to her, it was the first war movie she watched and actually liked (I was away at the time she watched it, so I hardly knew a thing about it when I agreed to watch it a little while ago) which, I suppose, does make it kind of hers.  Although since I love it too, I kind of want it to be ‘ours’, but she’s very firm about it being hers, a feeling that I do understand (something I’ll talk about more in the next film on the list).  Anywho.  I thought this film was set during WWII, but it actually takes place during the Korean War – not that that fact took anything out of my enjoyment of a fine piece of old Hollywood.  Gregory Peck is my favorite ‘olden days’ actor, and he did a fantastic job (as always).  I’ll admit that I watched Pork Chop Hill half for Gregory Peck and half for Rip Torn (who didn’t come in until, oh, over halfway through, but when he did make an appearance, it was great), but I ended up really liking the film for its other qualities too.  It’s the simple (and yet not-so-simple) story of soldiers trying to take and hold a hill, and very tightly focused.

{Stalag 17}


This is my film.  I don’t know why Stalag 17 grips me in the way that it does, but…it does.  It’s funny and tragic and gut-wrenching and intense and dramatic all at once.  There’s a horde of different (some immensely likable, some immensely unlikable) characters that all feel very, very real.  The movie is two different genres in one – war and suspense.  The story is tightly paced and draws all kinds of emotions out of the audience, but I can’t really put a finger on why Stalag 17 is so very much my movie.  I was flipping through an old notebook of mine from eight years ago, and even then, I’d listed one of my favorite films as Stalag 17.  Maybe it has something to do with how much the story and characters draw me in.  Hope that Manfredi and Johnson will escape (and anger against Sefton suggesting they won’t).  Despair when their bodies lie in the mud the very next morning.  Distrust towards Sefton, laughter at Harry and Animal’s antics, pity for Joey (and that one, little moment of pure happiness when everyone’s so excited about his new piccolo), and a hundred other different feelings.  Whatever the reason is, it’s one of my favorite movies period (not just a favorite war movie), and I don’t watch it nearly enough. (Also available on Youtube.)

{Runners Up}

~Hills Are For Heroes – Actually a two-parter Combat! episode, but it’s just as long as movie (and it’s fantastic), so I’m including it.

~Battle Of The Bulge – This almost made the favorites list.  An excellent drama, from both the Allied and German points of view.

~War Horse – The only WWI film on either list.  I’ve watched this one several times and the story of Albert and Joey never gets old.

~Twelve O’Clock High – Another Gregory Peck film, and one of my favorite roles of his.  It’s like an air-force version of The Devil’s Brigade.

~Walking With The Enemy – More a Holocaust movie than a war (WWII) movie, but it deserves to be on this list.  Emotionally exhausting, but it’s well worth watching.

What are some of your favorite war movies?



movie review: the glenn miller story

Glenn Miller is playing his terrific big band hits again in this stunning musical biography. The great Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson star in this vibrant tribute to one of America’s legendary bandleaders, charting Miller’s rise from obscurity and poverty to fame and wealth in the early 1940s.

The wonderful score swings with the original Miller music performed by the Glenn Miller Orchestra and such musical giants as Louis Armstrong, Gene Krupa, Frances Langford and The Modernaires. Rounding out the great cast are such favorites as Henry Morgan (M*A*S*H), Charles Drake and George Tobias.

Tastefully directed by Anthony Mann, Glenn Miller’s dynamic sound comes alive once more.


I discovered Glenn Miller because of three things: Jack Cavanaugh, Combat!, and James Stewart.

In Dear Enemy, one of JC’s two books set in WWII, the main character – an army nurse – is looking forward to a USO party where Glenn Miller will be performing, and when she gets word that he’s gone MIA, she starts crying.  Since I cared about the character, that made an impression on me.  Then, I was watching “Glow Against The Sky”, a Combat! episode, and Billy (one of my favorite characters), mentioned Glenn Miller in his delirious ravings (you don’t want to know, trust me).  And THEN I was browsing Pinterest when I discovered that James Stewart had starred in a movie about Glenn Miller’s life.  Since James Stewart is one of favorite actors ever, that was the last little push I needed to start listening to GM music.

I didn’t ‘get’ it at first.  I didn’t know that Glenn Miller did arrangements, rather than actual, vocalized songs, so the first time I listened to one of his albums that I’d borrowed from the library, I was dissatisfied.  The songs were mainly instrumental and I didn’t know the songs to begin with, so they made little impression on me.  What was all the 40’s hype about?  But I’d already put a hold on The Glenn Miller Story, and since James Stewart was in it, I figured I might as well give it a whirl.  Once I did, I understood everything so much better.  It wasn’t so much the lyrics of the different songs that mattered, as how they were played (at least when it came to Glenn Miller music).  And it was good.  Now I listen to his arrangements all. the. time.

Love this film! ("The Glenn Miller Story")

But, anyway, with all that background stuff out of the way, on to the actual film review!

The story shows Glenn Miller’s rise to fame quite simply, often punctuated with the playing of his most iconic musical pieces (one of my favorite things about the film).  It’s a comfortable old movie, one that you can relax with and just let the story play out without worrying about tense action sequences or a complicated plot.  There’s still emotional depth, though, as those who’ve cried at the ending (like me) can attest to.

I’ve always liked James Stewart in whatever role he plays, and I really liked him in TGMS.  He looks vaguely like the real Glenn Miller in most of the later scenes, which is nice, and there’s just something about the way he talks and acts and just…he was great for the part (just like every other role I’ve seen him in).  TGMS was the first film I’d seen June Allyson in, and she did a wonderful job too.  I like films where the main character is married (happily), because there’s something beautiful about married love.  (And I’m lucky enough to see it in my parents every single day.)  Helen Miller was a great support to Glenn, and that was portrayed very well in TGMS.  Oh, and then there’s my sister’s (and my) favorite character – Chummy, played by Harry Morgan.  He plays the piano fantastically, has a penchant for buying new cars and honking their horns all the time (although he’s not afraid to sell said cars if his friends need the money), and is always there when he’s needed.  He’s a great friend to Glenn and I love him.

And then, of course, the music.

The Glenn Miller Story was really my introduction to the music, and I enjoyed it much better that way than the album from the library – however, once I watched it, I picked up that album again and enjoyed the songs much more for two reasons: I understood that they were arrangements, and I now had specific movie memories to associate with the different numbers.  Which made them more interesting and more emotional.  Now I just listen to the songs because I love them of their own accord, but I’ll be forever grateful to TGMS for making me appreciate them in the first place.

Between my first viewing of TGMS and the re-watch (just a couple of days ago), my favorite arrangement turned out to be “American Patrol”, which I don’t think is as well known as some of the others like “In The Mood” or “Little Brown Jug” (I love both of those too; I really love them all, truth be told), so I was hoping that it would be included – in some capacity – in the film.  So I waited, and waited, and waited…and then they used it as a backdrop to footage of D-Day which was perfect and awesome and I’M SO HAPPY THAT THEY DID THAT.  But I digress.  The other songs are excellent as well, and the echoes of “Little Brown Jug” throughout the whole thing made me tearful.  I’ve listened to other versions of “In The Mood”, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, and other songs that Glenn Miller did arrangements for, and I have to say that, on the whole, I prefer his versions.  More upbeat.  Crisper, in a way.

Have you seen The Glenn Miller Story?  What’s your favorite of his arrangements?


five reasons why “losers cry deal” should be your go-to combat! episode

Every time I re-watch this episode, I love it even more.

I wasn’t really sure about whether or not I was going to write this post, because hardly anyone (any of my contemporaries, that is) knows much about Combat! and this post would be a break from Regular Programming, etc., etc.  But then I found out that today is the 50th anniversary of “Losers Cry Deal” premiering on television, so I simply had to buckle down and get this thing published.  Don’t worry…I’ll be back to book reviews and Current Fandom Stuff next post – this one is more for me, myself, and I than anyone else, so feel free to ignore it. (Although if you do want to learn more about Combat!, go here.  The article gives an excellent overview, much better than Wikipedia’s.)

(in no real order of importance, except the first one)

{#1 – Directed by Vic Morrow}

Almost all the best episodes are. :)

This point is not to be taken lightly.  Along with portraying one of the show’s main characters (if not the main character), Sergeant Saunders, Vic Morrow also directed six episodes of Combat! and he directed them fabulously.  “Hills Are For Heroes” is the episode that most people think of when Vic Morrow’s directorial skills on Combat! are mentioned (and HAFH deserves it, too), but “Losers Cry Deal” is a forgotten gem of directing that needs more recognition.  Vic Morrow could pull the best performances out of the cast, and it really shows here.  Everyone is absolutely top-notch in this episode, which leads me to my next point…

{#2 – Great Characterization}

"I think he needs to see a doctor."  "Yeah, Sarge, me too!"

For alllll the regulars. (Except Billy, who wasn’t in it because it’s season three, and he isn’t really a regular but he should’ve been.)  The stellar characterization is why I’ll always use this episode to introduce people to the show.  You get an excellent ‘feel’ for everyone.  I can forgive Shirl Hendryx the wonky characterization in “The Letter” because of this episode. (he wrote the scripts for both)  Whenever I need a good dose of The Squad, this is the episode I watch.  Crowning Moments Of Characterization include…

  • When Hanley says “It’s a tough war.”
  • When Saunders tells Jackson to watch out for Hicks and Other, Random Guy.
  • When Doc asks Saunders to take care of The Littlejohn Situation.
  • When Caje gets angry with Jackson. (I really feel like this is a Caje-focus episode…)
  • When Littlejohn gets angry with Jackson.
  • When Kirby imitates Hicks.

{#3 – Minor Characters}

I HAD to pin the larger version of this.  I mean, LOOK AT HIM.

THE MINOR CHARACTERS ARE THE BEST.  ESPECIALLY HICKS. (pictured above, btw)  I know Tom Skerritt plays an awful role in “Nothing To Lose” and he’s a German sergeant in “The Gantlet”, but his roles in “The Prisoner” and “Losers Cry Deal” make him out to be so, I don’t know – adorable? – that he’s still one of my favorite Combat! actors.  Hicks is naive and inexperienced and stuck in the middle of Jackson Drama sometimes…but my sister and I really like him.  He brightens/lightens the whole episode.  Plus, he has a great grin.  And then there’s Marcus, who I love watching in the background.  His facials reactions to Jackson’s obnoxiousness and Doc’s sense of humour, and pretty much everything are hilarious and awesome.  There’s Kelly and Johnson and Sergeant Sloccum, all of whom are great, as befits this episode, even if they only get a couple seconds of screen time apiece.

{#4 – Uniqueness}

Sleepy Doc is adorable. And Sleepy Doc Looking Out For His Friends In A Poker Game....well. It's pretty awesome.

There’s really no fighting. (Except the first two minutes, and a little bit in the middle of the episode.)  There’s no spies or secret missions or patrols.  This is the episode where the whole squad (plus Third Squad) gets to relax and have some downtime for practically the whole forty-five minutes.  They walk into the chateau, or whatever it is, and sleep and play poker and sleep some more.  Of course, there’s still tension and drama, courtesy of Jackson, but there’s no immediate danger to anyone – “Losers Cry Deal” provides a nice break for both The Guys and the audience.  (And I can tell you that staying up so late does shorten tempers and make things crazy and I love how that was portrayed.  I really need to watch this episode during an all-night sometime; it’ll make it seem all that more real.)

{#5 – Caje}

Oh, man...if I had Saunders and Caje looking at me like this, I'd be trembling in my boots.

Remember what I said about this being a Caje-focus episode?  Well, it is.  Saunders gives Caje temporary control over Third Squad (instead of Jackson) and he definitely doesn’t take that responsibility lightly.  Jackson rags on him, but Caje just ignores him and keeps on taking down the names of all the guys in Third Squad.  And then Caje loses a man the very first time he’s acting squad leader. “Losers Cry Deal” is Caje’s story.  It really is.  It shows how he deals with the loss of one of ‘his’ men, his anger at Jackson, his strong sense of duty with making sure he has everyone’s name.  Despite Tommy’s death, I still think Caje would make an excellent squad leader.  (And, really, it was Tommy’s fault, because he didn’t listen to what Caje told him to do.)  And if you aren’t a Caje fan already (which you SHOULD be), I’m pretty sure this episode will make you one.

Every time I re-watch this episode, I love it even more, and I’m sure you would too.  Just give it a try. (Or another try, if you’ve already seen it and not liked it all that much.)

The End.


book review: to kill a mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee: 18 Books That Changed How We Felt About Ourselves As Women

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos.


Confession: At the beginning, I didn’t much care for To Kill A Mockingbird.

See, I thought the entire book was going to be focused around a high-drama court case, and it would be very fast-paced and emotional and dramatic right from the start.  So you can imagine my faint chagrin when I started reading and soon discovered that almost the first third of the book is mainly The Adventures Of Scout & Co.  In fact, it isn’t until chapter nine that really anything is mentioned about the Tom Robinson case, and even after that the case itself doesn’t actually come to trial till over halfway through the book.  As an ardent lover of court dramas, I was very disappointed when much of the book turned out to be what I considered to be rather irrelevant little episodes.

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."   - Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

But I watched the movie (in which Gregory Peck impressed me greatly) and since the pace is naturally faster, I was able to see a little bit more of how the episodes all tied into one coherent whole.  Then I watched Pork Chop Hill and Twelve O’Clock High, both of which star Gregory Peck, and I got a craving – so to speak – to watch TKAM again.  And, well, I figured that I might as well give the book another try. (oh, and I believe this post had something to do with my determination to re-read the book)

So I did.  And my opinions changed so. much.  TKAM was so much better the second time around, and I think it was because I knew how the whole thing would turn out, all the twists and turns in the plot, so I was able to see the clues and important information that Harper Lee planted in all those ‘irrelevant little episodes’.  Things like how Boo Radley got to know the children and what the Ewells were like and, most importantly, what Atticus was like.  Throughout the whole thing, I was in constant awe of Harper Lee’s writing abilities.  The way she created characters and wove plot lines and her writing style…it’s all amazing stuff. (Though I think that if I read a bunch of books in a row written in her style, it would drive me a little crazy – or, at the very least, I’d be exhausted.  It’s very unique, like Markus Zusak’s prose.)

Best scene of the movie:  "Stand up, Miss Jean Louise.  Your father is passing."

My re-read of TKAM was, I believe, the slowest I’ve ever read a book.  I’d read a chapter, take a break to digest everything in that little chunk, and repeat the process over the next week or so. (taking a week to read one book is very, very slow for me)  For one, I didn’t want the joy of reading a truly excellent book to end.  And for another, the whole thing is so thought-provoking that you really shouldn’t rush through it.  I didn’t read any other books during the week either.  I tried to start The Maze Runner, but compared to TKAM…well, there was no comparison. (I am enjoying it now, though)  Now, I will admit that during The Trial Chapters, my reading pace picked up because the whole thing is very nerve-wracking and high drama, but for the most part, I savoured the book very carefully and slowly.

I adore the characters.  Truth be told, Scout is a brat (at least at the beginning – she does mature some through the course of the book) but, hey, after just watching Wreck-It Ralph, I can’t dislike brats too much. (ugh, the scene where Ralph wrecks the race car gets me every single, stupid time)  I discovered a great liking for Jem this time around.  He reminds me of me at times, which is probably part of why I like him.  Calpurnia, Dill, Heck Tate, Tom Robinson, Judge Taylor, Bob Ewell, Maudie Atkinson (another favorite character)…each person within the pages of TKAM is their own person, fully fleshed and believable, be they good or bad or middling.  Harper Lee doesn’t write any half-characters.  All of them feel just like real people and that’s something I love.

Gregory Peck in one of the greatest movies ever, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD!

No, I haven’t forgotten anyone.  I just wanted to devote an entire paragraph to Atticus, because he deserves it.  Remember what I said a little bit back about how Harper Lee lets you know what Atticus is like in the first several chapters of the book as set-up for the rest of the story.  Well, it’s true.  He isn’t in many scenes at first, but you learn a lot about him from Scout’s asides to the reader and how Jem and Scout and Dill (and the neighbours) talk about him.  You get to know him really well before the trial, but it’s not pounded into you with a sledgehammer.  You learn about him slowly and naturally, which is just the way it should be.  I liked Atticus well enough the first time I read TKAM, I liked him more after watching the film, and now…well, I really, really like him.  There are so many things I could say, and maybe I will say them sometime in an ‘the awesomeness that is…’ post over at Feelsy Feels, but I can’t really do him justice in this relatively short review.  Let me just say that if everyone modeled their behaviour after his, the world would be an infinitely better place. (And yet, he’s not some perfect cardboard character cut-out.  He feels just as real as any other character in the book.)

There were several times where I teared up, or even outright cried, but most of the time all my emotions were bottled up inside because I couldn’t really describe what I was feeling, even to myself.  I was amused (there are several bits that are hilarious), happy, angry, heartbroken, hopeful, despairing, frustrated, and a dozen other things through the course of TKAM.  It’s an emotional roller-coaster if there ever was one, but I don’t regret reading it.

{A Few Favorite Quotes}

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”


“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”


“I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”


“It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.”


“Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin’.”


“Before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”


“Summer, and he watches his children’s heart break. Autumn again and Boo’s children needed him. Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.”


“He turned out the light and went into Jem’s room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.”


“Next morning I awoke, looked out the window and nearly died of fright. My screams brought Atticus from his bathroom half-shaven.
“The world’s endin’, Atticus! Please do something -!” I dragged him to the window and pointed.
“No it’s not,” he said. “It’s snowing.”

I’d better stop before I quote the whole book, because there are so many stunningly amazing snippets of prose throughout the whole thing, but let me just leave you with the quote that’s at the very front of the book.  I love it.  A lot.  There are so many different ways to think about and how it connects to the book and I could go on for quite some time with Deep Thoughts, but I’ll the thing speak for itself and you can draw your own conclusions.  That’s the best way, I think.


what I’m doing {#1}

“Adventure is a bother.”

AKA the kind of post I write when I don’t know to write.

Or, more accurately, the kind of post I write when I’m feeling too lazy unproductive to churn out anything of quality.  Because even when I’m buried in Pinterest and Youtube, completely ignoring the finer arts of blog posts and emails, I’m still always watching/reading/listening to great (and sometimes not-so-great) stuff in Real Life.  Hence, this post. (or sad excuse for a post, whichever way you want to see it)  Oh, I have several good post ideas including one about fictional friendships, one about a certain pet peeve of mine, some book and movie reviews…  But, you see, those require actual thought processes on my part, so I’d rather forego those right now.  Slapping down a few words about my current activities doesn’t take much thought.

And now I suppose I should stop hemming and hawwing and actually get to the point of this post.  So to begin.

Right now, I’m…


To Kill a Mockingbird. My favorite book. Ever. Seriously. I've read it like five times.

To Kill A Mockingbird.  And it’s just about one of the most amazing things I’ve read.  Re-read, that is.  I didn’t care much for it the first time around, the reasons for which I’ll more fully expound upon in my review, but I’ve completely and totally fallen in love with the whole thing.  Including Atticus.  ESPECIALLY Atticus.  Harper Lee’s writing abilities are making me very envious.  Not so much her style, just the way she puts everything together.  I’m constantly in awe of it while sloooowly reading through TKAM (because it just isn’t a book you hurry your way through).


I pretty much live on 60’s TV shows now.  Mainly Combat!, but Get Smart has also been making the rounds around our family. (and if I wasn’t watching Combat!, I’d be watching Rat Patrol)  Anyway, I think I’ll chat about all three shows a little here, since I have some time.  Combat! – My sister and I have less than a season left before we finish the series, so we’re stalling.  A bunch of episodes are getting re-watched.  WE DON’T WANT IT TO END. (it won’t, not really, since we can revisit all our favorites over and over, but it will be the end of New Adventures With The Squad)  My current favorite episodes (after “Hills Are For Heroes”, naturally) are “The Hostages”, “Losers Cry Deal”, and “A Gift Of Hope” (oh, Avery, how I do love you).  Get Smart – This show provides a huge, sometimes relaxing change from Combat! because it’s absolutely hilarious.  My siblings/I were given the first and fifth seasons (don’t ask) as holiday presents, so we’ve watched several episodes.

{listening to}

Glen Miller 1904-1944. Missing In Action <3 I hope one day there can be some closure on what happened to him.

“A String Of Pearls” is currently serenading me as I write this post. (HINT, HINT…)  Yes, I have indeed been listening to Glenn Miller tunes.  They’re all gorgeous and I love them all dearly.  Of course, I do tear up a little sometimes while listening to certain pieces (like “White Christmas” and “Little Brown Jug”) because of all the memories and thoughts connected to them.  Plus that fact that he went missing and no-one knows what happened to him.  Just…go listen to “Tuxedo Junction” and watching The Glenn Miller Story.  Both are excellent introductions to the wonderful world of Glenn Miller music.



bunches of awesome {aka stuff I’ll recommend to my dying day}

Happy 2015!

The past year has been a full one, not without its trials, but also not without its triumphs.  Overall, 2014 was a great year, and I’m looking forward greatly to 2015.  After all, this is the year I’ll graduate (!!!!!!), and I just have a feeling that 2015 will bring a whole lot of new challenges and experiences that I can’t wait to, well, experience.  

Anyway, I’ve been working on a list of things I highly recommend for some time, and I think I’ve got a large enough collection now.  Some of it is pretty random, out of the blue, etc., but I think it should prove interesting.  And I do hope you’ll check out at least one or two things on the list.  They’re all well worth it.

(in no particular order)

~Jack Cavanaugh’s books – You all knew it was coming, didn’t you?  So I figured I’d better get it out in the open right away.  Especially since his books are the very first thing I mention whenever someone asks me for a book/author recommendation.  They’re just SO. GOOD.  I’m currently re-reading a bunch of his books, and I’m still blown away by The Awesomeness.  Especially The Victors.  I had the biggest book hangover after reading it.

Free Kindle Book For A Limited Time : While We're Far Apart by Lynn Austin

~Lynn Austin’s books – I haven’t really talked about Lynn Austin’s books much, simply because I hadn’t read any of them until recently, but I think they’re almost as good as Jack Cavanaugh’s. (praise indeed… *wink*)  Most Christian fiction these days is absolute rubbish, but JC and LA rise above the norm to write truly excellent novels.  Fire By Night, A Proper Pursuit, and While We’re Far Apart are my three favorites, but all of her books that I’ve read are great.

~Walking in the rain – Such a little thing, this.  On dozens of inspirational posters, people’s bucket lists, so on and so forth…but for good reason.  It’s amazing.  Especially the unexpected downpours.  I was walking to the library once with my sister when the clouds burst open with torrential rain.  By the time we got to the library, we were literally (in the most literal sense of the word) wringing wet – hair and clothes.  And it was wonderful.

This would even be cute for sweet sixteen pics. Do it with no umbrella, just laughing in the rain

~Smiling – An activity that greatly improves one’s looks, in my opinion, and something I don’t do enough of.

~WWII TV shows made in the 60’s – You’d be surprised how many there are.  I’ve only watched three – Rat Patrol, Hogan’s Heroes, and Combat! – but I know there are more.  It’s not so much the fact that they’re made in the 60’s that’s important, it’s just that a lot of WWII TV shows seem to have come from that decade.  And they’re all pretty awesome.  Rat Patrol is about four guys who drive cool jeeps and make the German’s lives a misery (especially one particular German guy).  Hogan’s Heroes is about POWs who basically run the prison camp they stay in.  Combat! is about a squad of soldiers who do a lot of different things, fighting their way through France after D-Day.  All three shows are available on Youtube, by the way. (hint, hint…)

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~Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (franchise) – Hehe.  It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that I love these movies because they’re cheesy and silly and generally meant for little kids.  But I am what I am, and part of that is ‘a big fan of kiddie films’.  I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon.  Besides, Cloudy 1 and Cloudy 2 are great fun.  The humour is actually pretty sophisticated in places, the characters are great (with Manny being my favorite), and even though both films follow a lot of animated movie tropes/cliches, they’re still immensely interesting.  Cloudy 1 is probably on my ‘Top Ten Animated Movies’ list.

~Listening to 40’s swing while doing cleaning/baking – I do this quite a bit these days.  Glenn Miller music mixes perfectly with chocolate chip cookies, washing dishes, and floury aprons.  I don’t know why, but it just does.  Listening to music makes any work seem easier, even fun, which is why whenever the kitchen is a horrid mess or I have a bunch of baking to do, I always put on music.  And 40’s swing is my favorite thing to listen to.

1940's Fashion - Housewifes Daily Routine | Glamourdaze

~Grilled cheese sandwiches with ketchup – Random, I know.  But just try it dipping bites of grilled cheese in ketchup (or catsup, as it’s sometimes spelled).  It’s delicious.  And in the same vein… (of food, that is)

~Tuna in tomato soup – Next time you have tomato soup, mix up some tuna with mayonnaise and drop a few spoonfuls into your bowl of soup.  It makes the soup richer and more creamy, and tuna adds a nice texture, and it’s just generally nice.  Probably not for everyone, but I love it.

~Cupcake Diaries – I’m really sharing all my innermost secrets today, aren’t I?  Cupcake Diaries is a fluffy little middle-school series about four girls who run a cupcake business on the side of school/boy/family drama.  Basically, each book is small and sweet – like a cupcake – and they’re interesting enough.  I actually find myself relating to several different issues that are brought up through the series (even though I’m wayyyyy ahead of middle-school now).  The next time you’re bored, give the books a try.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

This fresh new tween series from Simon Spotlight features a group of four unique girls who are trying their best to navigate through the wild terrain that is middle school. They accidentally form the Cupcake Club, and with friends and frosting, fun ensues. Told from the perspective of one girl for each book, tween readers will relate to the character’s search to fit in and feel comfortable in her own skin.  2011.

~Watching comedic movies with your family – Ahhhhh.  This is such a fun one, based on my own experiences.  Everyone has different opinions and different tastes in my family, but if we find a comedy with truly awesome humour, everyone enjoys it and laughs at/with it.  Laughter is a great bonding technique.

~Uno – A great game, playable by just about anyone.  My sister and I play it in the dead of night while talking about Combat!, but there are several uses for it.  I personally prefer playing two player games, because it’s simply more awesome, but upwards of ten people can play at one time.  OR you could buy two packs and have an epic twenty-player game. (although the thought of twenty people yelling at each other that “It’s your turn!” is a little mind-boggling…and not in a good way)

~”Flying With Mother” (from the HTTYD2 soundtrack)Go listen to it.  Sheer poetry in musical form.  Really.

Cloudjumper and Toothless

~The Longest Day (book AND movie) – So, there’s a movie about D-Day called ‘The Longest Day’.  There’s also a book by the same title that the movie was based off of (with the author of the book writing the script for the movie).  And both of them are epic, in the truest sense of the word.  I read the book a couple weeks ago, watched the movie a few days ago, and was blown away by both the scope and intimacy of both.  There are big battle scenes, of course, but both book and movie capture the little details as well – the individual lives of military leaders, ordinary soldiers, and French civilians.  The way all these different stories are woven together to form one, sprawling account of D-Day is awe-inspiring (especially for a writer) and just as perfect as Les Miserables.

~The fangirl life – There’s nothing like it.

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~The Underland Chronicles – Before there was Katniss, there was Gregor.  Before there was Haymitch, there was Ripred.  Before there was Panem, there was Regalia and all the Underland.  And before The Hunger Games, there was…the Underland Chronicles.  And it was unbelievably amazing and perfect and there-are-so-many-more-adjectives-I-could-string-onto-the-end-of-this-sentence.  Five epic books, one strong (BOY) protagonist, a slew of awesome side characters, and tearjerking moments running rampant through the whole thing.  I simply don’t understand why these books aren’t more popular.

~Air Bud (franchise) – Yet another slightly embarrassing fandom to admit to…  There’s a gazillion movies in this franchise, but only the first few are any good.  They’re about a dog.  Who plays sports.  You name it, he plays it – basketball, football, soccer, baseball, and volleyball.  The first movie is the very best (as is usually the case), the second is almost as good, and it kind of goes downhill from there.  The movies are more appropriate for little siblings than anyone else, but I still enjoy watching them ever so often.  And the Air Bud movies were how Ashley and I ‘met’, so they’ll always be special for that reason.


~Notebooks – Notebooks are one of the best things that have ever happened to this world.  I have about five different ones I’m using right now (story ideas, Combat! fan-fiction, writing journal, things-that-make-me-happy, and my ‘everything else’ notebook) and dozens and dozens gathering dust on my shelf, in a briefcase, and on my desk.  You can draw breathtaking works of art or doodle nonsense.  You can scribble down a random thought that comes to you or write stunning prose.  You can smell the paper or rip the paper.  Notebooks are endlessly versatile and I love them.

~Meet The Robinsons – I only watched this film a few days ago (for the very first time), but it’s already on my top ten (if not top five) animated movies list.  It’s a very little known Disney movie, but watching it will be one of the best things you ever do.  The whole thing speaks to me on so many different levels and has touched me in a special way.  Not many films do that.

~Sue Thomas F.B.Eye – Allllllmost done here, guys. (girls?  I don’t know how many guy followers I have…)  I have no idea why STFBEYE doesn’t have a bigger fanbase.  It’s an exciting, touching, practically-perfect-in-every-way TV show about a deaf woman in the FBI.  It’s clean as a whistle, chock-full of emotional moments (for all the fangirls out there), and peppered with some of my favorite TV characters ever.  There are so many fantastic things about it and I just might have to devote a whole blog post to the topic sometime.  Seriously, you need to watch it.

Sue Thomas, F.B.Eye. (L to R: Dimitrius, Tara, Bobby, Sue with Levi, Jack, Myles, Lucy).

~A red shirt with a steampunk bulldog on it – My little brother has one, and let’s just say I’m battling some serious clothing envy right now.  It’s just too awesome! (sadly, I couldn’t find a picture)

Wow.  This post is a lot longer than I thought it’d be.  Anyway…what did you think of my list?