3 of a Kind

School is over and the Summer has just begun.  I know what you want: to see a good movie.  Maybe the next Superhero film.  (It will be the 38thyou’ve seen in the past year, right?) No?  How about a movie coming out in August: “A. X. L.”  It’s the story about a robotic dog.  No?  Then, here are 3 other suggestions.  Two documentary films I have seen and a documentary on HBO scheduled for July 16th.



Won’t You Be My Neighbor?  It is the story about Mr. (Fred) Rogers. (see above)  I wrote an article about him on June 7 for this blog.  Start there and add this.

Years ago, a friend of mine saw Mr. Rogers speak in Pittsburgh at some event.  He found out Mr Rogers wrote all the scripts for his show, and all the songs, and did all the puppets, but he didn’t act.  He was just himself.  He hated television, but saw its potential to teach children.  He changed how it was done and, thereby, all the children who saw it.  This film explains how and why he did it.  It is a wonderful film about a fine man who was an exceptional teacher.  He is dearly missed.



 RBG (Ruth Bader Ginsburg).  (see above)  This film tells you about her life and  judicial decisions (eg, as a lawyer she presented 6 “gender discrimination” cases to the Supreme Court, and won 5).  She  was married for 56 years.  She has 2 children and her husband died in 2010 (cancer).  In 1960, she was rejected for a Supreme Court clerkship position because of her gender.  In 1993, she became a justice of the Supreme Court.   In 2015, Time magazine said she was one of 100 most influential people in the world.  Colon cancer and pancreatic cancer have attacked her –and lost.  Former friend and legal foe, Antonin Scalia, said of her: “she has become the leading and very successful litigator on behalf of women’s rights –the Thurgood Marshall of that cause, so to speak.”  She is 5’1” tall and has become a folk hero.  Her “fiery dissents” in court resulted in her being called “the Notorious RBG.”  She gives Notorious R.B.G. t-shirts as gifts.  This film tells how she did all that in only 85 years.  It is an exceptional film.



 Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind.  (see above)  (On HBO, July 16, 2010)  When I think of Robin Williams, these words come to mind: non-stop energy and boundless creativity.  How can he be contained in one documentary?  This is part of him = His classmates at Juilliard: Mandy Patinkin, William Hurt, Christopher Reeve.  Awards: 2 Emmys, 7 Golden Globes, 2 Screen Actors Guild, 4 Grammys, an Oscar.  Addictions: Drugs, Alcohol, Bicycling.  His kindness: He paid many of Reeve’s medical bills and helped support Reeve’s family.  Who most influenced him (in his opinion): Jonathan Winters and Richard Pryor.  My favorite films of his: “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Dead Poets Society,”  “Aladdin,”  “Mrs. Doubtfire,”  “The Birdcage,”  “Good Will Hunting.”  50 times on David Letterman show; Letterman’s first thought after seeing him perform: “Holy crap, there goes my chance in show business.”  Other quotes about him: Terry Gilliam: “He has the most unique mind on the planet.”  Zelda Williams (daughter): “The world is forever a little darker, less colorful and less full of laughter.”  Billy Crystal: “The brightest star in our comedy galaxy.”


This Summer is bringing you reminders of three exceptional human beings who made the world better than they found it.  Enjoy them, not only fictional super heroes.  Just a suggestion.










About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures above...it's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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