Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thanks, Shifty!

Band Of Brothers Hero, Darrell ‘Shifty’ Powers Dies

By The Continuous News Desk

Published: June 20, 2009


“The world depended on them. They depended on each other.”

That was the tagline for “Band of Brothers” – an award-winning 2001 HBO mini-series drama on the World War II experiences of Easy Company, a U.S. Army unit that fought bravely and fiercely across Europe.

But for Bristol’s Margo Johnson – daughter of Darrell “Shifty” Powers, one of the soldiers depicted in “Band of Brothers” – two more lines could be added to describe her heroic father: “The world truly admired Darrell Powers. I absolutely adored him.”

“I loved everything about my daddy,” Johnson said. “He never bragged about what he did in the war. And for a lot of years, he never even talked much about what he did – unless someone asked him about it.

“But he truly was a hero to me,” Johnson said. “Just like he’d been to the people who know him as a soldier in a [mini-series].”

Powers, a Dickenson County native, died earlier this week at age 86 following a battle with cancer. His funeral service will be held today in Clintwood.

“He was a brave man, even to the end of his life,” Johnson said of her father. “He’s helping me be brave now, too.”

Bravery – and dignity – was a constant, running thread in the life of “Shifty” Powers, both during and after his life as an Army sharpshooter in the actual “Band of Brothers.”

During the war, he fought brutal battles against the German army across France and Belgium.

After the war, Powers served as an eloquent representative for the men he fought with: At one point during the “Band of Brothers” mini-series, he appeared on camera to talk in moving, humane fashion about his grim but necessary task during the war – killing the enemy.

And, too, Powers served as a loyal, steadfast representative for the country he fought for: from graciously meeting with a former enemy German soldier to eagerly accepting any chance to speak with modern-day members of the U.S. military.

Ivan Schwarz, a producer on the “Band of Brothers” HBO series, remembers Powers as a “kind, generous soul with a great sense of humor.”

“Shifty was an incredibly humble human being,” said Schwarz, now executive director of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission in Cleveland, Ohio.

“He was like most of the other [Easy Company] soldiers we met for the series. They were good guys who were kind of shocked that, 50 years later, people were making a big deal over them for just doing their duty.

“That’s exactly how [Powers] was, too,” Schwarz said.

Attempts were unsuccessful to reach Peter Youngblood Hills – the English actor who portrayed Powers in the “Band of Brothers” miniseries, through both HBO and his former publicity firm, Hamilton Hodell in London, England.

rbrown@bristolnews.com (276) 645-2512

Monday, June 29, 2009

Little Buddy Turns One

With Aunt Lori...his eccentric aunt!

Jack-Jack even got his own personal cake.

The cake for the rest of us.

Time to open presents.

Mommy and Aunt Shannon helping Jack-Jack with his Lightning McQueen car.

Time for cake!

With Soccer Dude's dad, and Goody Two Shoes

With Soccer Dude's mom.

Jack-Jack and Pappy

Kiss me you fool!

I want more cake.

Bath time. I was in favor of just tossing him in the pool...but that's just me.

What a kid! All clean and ready for the pool.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm Tired of Hearing About....

Ever get so tired of something you just wanted to scream, or throw something through the television. I get that way sometimes. But instead of screaming or throwing a brick at the TV I put whatever's buggin me on my list. Some of you may agree with my ranting, some you won't. But that's the great thing about America; we all get our say.

My taxes going up and my streets not getting fixed...among other things. This nonsense has been going on where I live before the economy went in the tank.

All the news networks with their doom and gloom reporting. They call it hard hitting journalism, I call it crap. And hey, where is the good news? There is still good news out there...isn't there?

Brad and Angelina and what they're up to now. I could care!

Jon and Kate Plus 8. Give me a break! He's a goof and she's a witch. And they should both be locked up for exploiting their kids; they're the real victims here. And has anyone ever seen a more butt ugly hairdo than hers. I swear, that woman could scare wild animals out of the forest.

Reality TV, period! I hate it, it sucks canal water...all of it. Any goof can get a TV show these days. Enough is enough!

That North Korean President dude with the Elvis pompadour and the cheap sunglasses threatening my country. Someone needs to step on that weasel.

Jessica Simpson and whether she can sing or not, and whether wearing hi-rider jeans gives her a 'mommy butt.' Again...I CARE! But just for the heck of it, here's my opinion...NO, she can't sing, and yes, those jeans make her butt look gigantic. There, everyone happy now?

Hey! Jessica's lost weight!

Of congress poking their noses into professional sports, namely baseball. Don't the boys and girls on capitol hill have something better to do...like fixing the economy? Or dealing with that North Korean dude?

Of baseball not dealing with their high-priced spoiled brats who test positive for steroids and other banned substances. Here's an idea...kick them out of the game and strip them of their records. Doesn't anyone remember the Black Sox scandal of 1919?

Of our president...the Big O, the One, telling the NCAA they need to restructure the BCS to a playoff foremat so a true national champion is crowned. For the record, I'm glad the president said it, as a lot of us college football fans feel the same way. But it ain't his place to tell the NCAA what to do with itself. Again, like congress, he's got more pressing things to attend to.

Hollywood in general. Gallagher...the watermelon smashing dude said, 'living in Hollywood is like living in a bowl of granola...what ain't fruits and nuts is flakes.' I think he knew what he was talking about.

Nancy Pelosi. Ack, cough, gasp, wheeze. This is the woman, who, a few years ago, was leading Congress in the Pledge of Allegiance, and skipped the word God. She said she got mixed up or confused, or some BS like that. Anyone buying her excuse?

The Jonas Brothers. Who are these guys, and why should I care that they're still virgins?

Miley Cyrus. Same reaction as Nancy Pelosi. She's everywhere and I'm sick of looking at her: TV, internet, Wal Mart...it goes on and on. Maybe she could go to North Korea and annoy that little weasel.

Country Music or rather what has now become country music. What does Kid Rock and Def Leppard have to do with country music? Oh, and another thing...I love Lee Ann Womack and her music. I've never made a secret of that, but.... Who dresses her for these award shows. Sorry Lee Ann...I love you, but you gotta stop dressing like your 19. And that goes for the rest of them as well.

Martina McBride. I love her music, but when did she become a member of Delta House? (Toga...get it?)

That spooky woman from the Progressive insurance commercials. She's everywhere! And I do mean everywhere...and she's creeping me out...and somebody better do something about it.

Members of Congress and the Senate who try to convince us that they are for the little guy, or are champions of the working class. Think I'm full of it? Go flip through a congressional staff directory sometime. It's hard-bound and about four inches thick...you could stop a charging grizzly with one whack. Anyway, look up your congressman or congresswoman...look up any of them, for that matter. The MAJORITY of them were physicians, lawyers, corporate execs, or ran their own businesses before Capitol Hill beckoned. They were already out of touch with Blue Collar America before they even ran for office. So how can we expect them to be looking out for us now? Oh, and these people get to vote their own pay raises and increases to their pensions. Shouldn't those decisions rest in the hands of the American voter?

TV pitchman Billy Mays. As in, Hi, I'm Billy Mays and I want to sell you some crap you don't need for three installments of $9.95. ENOUGH ALREADY...JEEZ!

Oh yeah...this goof needs to go away too.

Daytime talk show hosts. Um...one of them, oh, her name begins with an O or something like that. The other one, um...give me a minute....Eileen...eh, it's close. They both make me want to wretch...especially when they get out the old soap box and start banging the drum about their favorite cause. I have my favorite causes too, but I don't have a TV show to promote them on. Maybe I could get a reality show...hmm...no, I hate reality TV. Well, back to the old drawing board.

That guy on FOX who claims to run the no spin zone. OHHHH PLEAZE! Don't insult my intelligence. It's his show, of course it has a spin...his spin. Don't believe me? Look at how many guests he's howled down who offered an opinion contrary to his own. There's a local radio personality where I live who is the same way. His show, his rules.

Dr. Phil. What exactly is he a doctor of? And why does he creep me out so?

Lastly, for now, anyway. The good old ACLU and their crusade to keep God out of anything to do with the government. No Ten Commandments in courthouses on on the courthouse lawns. Some Cub Scout, and Girl Scout units that used to meet in public schools have found themselves out of a home because they have God in their oaths and schools are government buildings. The main argument seems to be that religion in a government building violates the separation of church and state. Um...I have BS in American History, and this is my take on things, and bear in mind, my major was history not political science. Anyway, the founding fathers separated church from state so that the government couldn't place one religion over another, i.e. state sponsored religion. This way the government couldn't tell you where to worship and when, and punish you if you failed to stay in step with their program. I don't think George and Ben and Tom, and James, and the rest of the founding fathers intended to keep the Ten Commandments of courthouse lawns or kick the scouts out of the public schools. Give me a break.

Okay, I've ranted. I actually feel a little better...'til I turn on the TV or pick up the paper again.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers Day...From Me to Me.

Having a rare summer Saturday to myself...I didn't have to work and Goody Two Shoes was at an all day crop...I plunked down twenty bucks and bought a one-way ticket for the scenic railroad. Why one way? They have a thing where cyclists pay $20 and they and their bikes are taken to Frostburg and then you can hop on your bike and pedal your heart out.

I've wanted to do this for sometime and yesterday was my only chance to do it this summer. Business where I work has picked up and we're working a lot of Saturdays.

Except for a little sprinkle on the ride down the mountian the day was perfect. The ride up the hill was great and all total I took 191 photos. Now, my only problem is culling them down to ten or so for this post. Soooo....here we go.

734 pulling into the station.

Heading out of town.

Passing the old interchange track at City Jct.

Climbing into the Narrows.

Crossing the bridge over the National Highway at the west end of the narrows.

Rounding Helmstetter's Curve

The Helmstetter farm.

At Brush Tunnel

In the tunnel.

Coming out the upper end.

Above Woodcock Hollow.

On the hill above Mt. Savage...where I went to high school...a very long time ago.

Passing under an old Western Maryland signal bridge.

Just below Frostburg. 734 is leaving Western Maryland rails and swinging onto the old Cumberland and Pennsylvania...and the steepest part of the hill.

Tight curves and steep grades mark the last leg of the run to Frostburg.

Crossing over the old Western Maryland...now part of the bike trail. In less than a mile the train has climbed fifty linear feet.

734 on the turntable at Frostburg.

Look for the red glow under 734's boiler. It's not reflected sunlight...its the glow from the boiler. By the way, I gave up on just posting a dozen photos a while back.

A parting shot of 734 before I head down the mountian.

Photographed a grey squirrel at the Woodcock Hollow Trail shelter.

Ran into rain coming down the mountian. Ended up taking shelter in Brush Tunnel.

Had a little snack and dried off while I waited for things to clear.

Two last shots from my day. 734 coming into the narrows.

Crossing Baltimore Street at the end of another successful run.

The rocking and rolling of the cars made it a little difficult taking pictures. The cinders stung my arms as I leaned out to take my photos. I couldn't breathe in the tunnel. And I got rained on coming down the mountian. But I had fun.

If yesterday was a song it would be Travis Tritt's 'Great Day to Be Alive.' Enjoy the photos everyone and Happy Father's Day.