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Archive for June, 2010

The US Postal Service has announced the Oil Creek Station on Seneca Street in Oil City will close permanently July 12th.  The Bridge Builders Community Foundations mail comes to that station but after the closing it will go to the Oil City Post Office on the Southside.  There will be no change in our address.  It will remain P O Box 374, Oil City PA 16301.

Our Executive Director, Steve Kosak, plans to walk the distance from and to our offices, 42 vertical steps up at 213 Seneca Street and the Southside Office.  He will consider driving or accepting a lift if it is raining or snowing.  None of us want your contributions to Clarion County Community Foundation, Forest County Community Foundation, and Venango Area Community Foundation to be damaged by inclement weather.  Charles Marlin

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After reviewing Operation Mincemeat in my post of June 23rd, I Spy A Double Agent, I rented the 1956 movie version The Man Who Never WasClifton Webb, with a bad red dye job, plays Lt. Commander Ewen Montagu who masterminded the dead courier deception the Nazis fell for.

If you like 50’s movies you won’t mind this stripped down version of the story.  What drew my attention were the Hollywood twists added to the story which may have been to make the movie less costly to produce.  The book is far more interesting.  Charles Marlin

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The book is gorgeous so if you have a chance to see the exhibit in the next three years don’t let it pass you by.  Here is Tibet not embroiled in geopolitics, occupation, and human rights violations, but in its cultural and religious glory.  The book is A Shrine For Tibet: The Alice S. Kandell Collection by Marylin M. Rhie and Robert A. F. Thurman and published by Tibet House US.

Currently the exhibit will be at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC until July 18th under the title In The Realm Of The Buddha, and then will travel to the Rubin Museum Of Art in New York City.

Watch for the future schedule.  When Tibet finds peace, it is anticipated the collection will be reunited with home.

There are many fine books on Tibetan sacred art, fewer on the profane, but this one shines.  It is a must have for public and university libraries, and for private libraries where Tibet art and Buddhish thought are important.  It will earn its shelf space for generations.  Charles Marlin

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If you are into WWII intelligence and deception, you already know bits and pieces of this overflowing account Operation Mincemeat: How A Dead Man And A Bizarre Plan Fooled The Nazis And Assured An Allied Victory by Ben Macintyre.  You may have read the chief agent Ewen Monagu’s account The Man Who Never Was.  If you don’t recall the 1956 movie with Clifton Webb playing Lt. Commander Montagu, you can rent it from Netflix.

Don’t be casual about this.  Stop at Barnes & Noble or go online at amazon.com for your copy of Macintyre’s book.  Everyone is perfectly typecast even down to the putrescent corpus.  The story line moves at its own pace because no detail seems to be left out, which is in no way a criticism.  The details make the story.

I would go into some of those details but I remember Loose Lips Might Sink Ships, so I leave Operation Mincemeat wholly to your discreet reading.

The images are of the Allied landing on Sicily in honor of the men who fought and died there, and of HMS Seraph in honor of Lt. Commander Bill Jewell and his crew.  Incomparable men, one and all. 

 Charles Marlin

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Directions to Seneca Hills:

Seneca Hills is located 6 miles south of Franklin; 12 miles north of I-80 on Old Route 8. From the north, take Old Route two miles south of Franklin; turn right immediately after crossing the Big Sandycreek Bridge; then turn left at the (T) intersection. From the south, take Old Route 8 North; turn left just before crossing the Big Sandycreek Bridge; then turn left at the (T) intersection.

Lunch:

We are welcome to join the Seneca Hills campers and staff for lunch at 12:15 in the dining hall. Because of the Seneca Hills schedule, we may be meeting one place in the morning and another location after lunch.

Donations for Lunch and Meeting Accommodations:

Please consider making a donation to Seneca Hills for the use of their facilities and lunch. If the cost is to be paid by individuals, a donation of any amount will be acceptable.

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If Alice Neel is your cup of day old coffee, you will enjoy and find useful Alice Neel: Painted Truths by Jeremy Lewison, Barry Walker, Tamar Garb, and Robert Storr, with artists’ bits by Frank Auerbach, Marlene Dumas, and Chris Ofili.  The book has sixty-eight large color plates for an exhibit of the same title at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Whitechapel Gallery, and Moderna Museet Malmo.

The arrangement of the works in the exhibition, as well as the plates, is in nine sections: Allegory, The Essential Portrait, The Psychological Portrait, Portraits from Memory, Cityscapes, Nudes, Parents and Children, The Detached Gaze, and Old Age.  You may not like a Balkanized Neel but I thought it worked more often than not.  Remember boundaries are amenable in the Balkans if you’re not in a hurry.

I also thought the introductory essays informative, and the chronology in the back of the book a good reference in puzzling out future questions.  Charles Marlin

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It was a messy neighborhood quarrel spread across the United States at a time of great suffering for most and insufferable intolerance by a fortunate few.  It was not just FDR fighting six reactionary Supreme Court Justices.  The nation was getting louder and louder in protest.  The New Deal faced a total wipeout by the Justices.

Jeff Shesol, Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt vs. The Supreme Court is a fresh take on a fracas that left everyone sullied who took part in it.  FDR did not act without provocation and there were many who supported him.  He brilliantly understood that a Constitutional amendment against the powers of the Court was dangerous and unnecessary.  Where he was not smart was letting his self-confidence and political finesse cloud his decision to make a frontal attack by packing the court.

The reactionary Justices were so out of touch with Depression Americans there is no excuse for their behavior.  So satisfied with privilege they felt their social, political, and economic views were written in the Constitution.  It was their mission to save the old America.

The opposition to FDR were wealthy and controlled large segments of the economic structure of America.  Because they feared the New Deal would lessen their economic freedom, they hated FDR.  Their paid allies in the conservative wings of both parties were happy to join the fight.  They too needed to protect vested interests in their states.  They feared there would be nothing left for them once FDR finished consuming political America.

The media made little to less positive contribution, but they did sell magazines and papers.  They were the paid street thugs.

The foolish plan to pack the Court failed for many reasons, not the least was the lack of statesmanship in the White House and the Senate.  If FDR had simply circled the wagons around the Court, protecting the Constitution and Court while letting the circling hungry grow in number and volume, he would have won much sooner without any loss of political power.  The Supreme Court reactionaries were never going to win, so why did he fight?  Age and fear were angels sitting on the Justices’ shoulders.

Shesol does not use my ill-tempered tone, keeps an even hand in presenting all the participants, and adds depth to the story.  If FDR, the New Deal, the Depression, the Supreme Court, or Constitutional history are among your favorite desserts, pig out.  Charles Marlin

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