From the Pages of History

Stories, Pictures, Quotes & Trivia (and more) that tell the story of the world.

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Surprising Facts About Your Favorite Vintage TV Shows


Barney Milton Fife? Singing Cartwrights? Lucy Ricardo beat President Eisenhower in what? Loved reading through these fun facts on vintage TV shows 🙂

Served Chilled

Surprising Facts From “The Andy Griffith Show”

Andy Griffith Show Via Wikipedia

  • Andy and Barney were first introduced as cousins, but that concept got scrapped by the end of Season 1.
  • Opie really didn’t throw that rock during the theme song; it was a crew member.
  • The well-loved whistled theme song is called “The Fishin’ Hole.”
  • Barney gave his middle name in some episodes as “Milton,” and on others as “Oliver.”
  • In addition to starring as Sheriff Andy Taylor, Andy Griffith won a Tony for his work on Broadway, and starred as the title character in the TV detective drama Matlock.
  • The police car on the show always looked new because the producers were given a new model whenever the nearby dealership got one.

Read more here!

Surprising Facts From “Bonanza”

Bonanza cast Via Wikipedia

  • The actors all sang on a album called Christmas at the Ponderosa.
  • Pernell Roberts, the actor who played Adam, actually…

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Leadership: Challenging Authority


This is a paper I wrote in college; it goes through the 16 leaders in Garry Wills’ book Certain Trumpets, and how they challenged authority or the status quo.

Challenging the status quo is often part of a leader’s job. The writers in Traditional Classics on Leadership reflect on when challenges to authority should be permissible and what those challenges should look like. The leaders in Certain Trumpets demonstrate how successful this can be when done right.

Franklin D. Roosevelt had clear ideas of what he wanted to accomplish and he sometimes “exasperated” those around him on his quest to achieve them (33). However, his unorthodox way of “[drawing] in others around him” resulted in effective, dynamic plans that worked (29).

Harriet Tubman challenged authority in a very obvious way—she actually went out and broke the law by leading slaves to freedom. But she was right in what she did because she was a legitimate leader in pursuit of moral ends and she acted justly, defying unjust leaders and tyrants.

Reform is generally opposed at first and takes a while to be implemented. That did not stop Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the most powerful advocates for the fixing of problems in America. She used tact when needed but her commitment to what she saw as necessary reform did not waver.

Diplomatic leader Andrew Young may not have been in the forefront of the civil rights movement, but his behind-the-scenes work made sure everything else ran smoothly. He was just as much a part of the fight for black equality as Martin Luther King, Jr.

If there was anyone who surprised the traditionalists, it was decisive and insightful Napoleon. His dynamic, genius way of fighting won him victories against armies much larger and stronger than his.

David was destined to replace Saul but that king fought hard to keep his position. Described by Wills as a “free spirit” who headed a “rebel band,” David possessed a warrior spirit and his daring attacks solidified his position as the new king of Israel (107).

Businessman Ross Perot used efficient ways to raise sales. His ideas on how to better business were ingenious and extremely profitable. His active management styles were somewhat abnormal, but they made for success.

Being a traditional leader, he was expected to follow Catholic customs closely, but Pope John XXIII still found ways to focus on what he felt was important. Though it made some in the church squirm, “Pope John knew that the church must always be in a process of renewal…to get back to its original inspiration” (143).

General of the Continental Army that challenged the British Empire and won America its independence, George Washington was a determined leader willing to give his all in the fight for freedom. Neither clashes with the British army nor clashes within the new American government deterred him.

Socrates was not one to shy away from confrontations. He would engage anyone who cared to talk with him on philosophical subjects. Both the Wills and Wren texts contain examples of talks he had with those of differing opinions. But he was not afraid to challenge and engage.

Due to a previous devastating sickness and her association with an influential friend, Mary Baker Eddy was not afraid to go out on a limb and start her own denomination, the Christian Scientists. She pushed through opposition to become a part of religious history.

Carl Stotz did not necessarily challenge authority, but he did confront the notion that organized baseball was only for grown-ups. He did something unconventional, he did it with his heart, and he was passionate about sticking to the original vision.

Dedicated dancer Martha Graham’s unconventional inspirations and styles resulted in the revolution of dance. Other experts were skeptical, but she ended up having quite a lasting influence in that area of the arts.

The civil rights moment would not have been the same without Martin Luther King, Jr. He directly confronted the injustices of 1960s southern America, whatever the consequences. From energetic speechmaking to direct challenges, he was unafraid to challenge the unjust authority.

Opportunistic Cesare Borgia shocked many with his “effrontery” and brutal tactics; however, it could not be denied that he got the job done (232). Flexible, a go-getter, and just plain lucky, his career was short but brilliant.

Dorothea Day was driven by a desire to help the helpless. The rough experiences she had in her youth gave her a real understanding of the conditions of the poor and she was unconventional in her desires to help them.

Some of these leaders challenged authority; some challenged the status quo or established beliefs or attitudes. They all had a goal and were able to lead followers in pursuit of it. Though not every leader has to challenge authority, it is often a part of the responsibility and should be prepared for.

War, peace, and Ender’s Game


This is a post that has been in the works for a while. It concerns the movie Ender’s Game. Besides being a cool sci-fi film, I thought it raised some interesting ideas. In college, I took a course on international relations. When we watched the movie, the course was fresh in my mind, and I got to thinking about elements of IR in the movie. Here are some of my thoughts 🙂

20141230-182631.jpg ~ a pic I found online

To start, Ender’s Game is set in a futuristic world in which there has recently been a battle between the Humans and the (intelligent) Bugs. The ever-expanding Bug colony wanted to take over the Humans’ world but the Humans beat the Bugs back, at great cost. The movie opens with a conundrum on how to deal with the factions of Humans vs. Bugs, as the former suspect the latter of an uprising.

There are a few main ways to look at the international system and what goes on in it, whether it be wars, trade, treaties, or the Olympics—two of the most famous are realism and liberalism. Realism sees each nation in the world system as looking out for its own interests first. This can include wars but does not have to; whatever best helps the country will be pursued. Liberalism would like the nations of the world to work together. Cooperation and not war is its preference.

There are elements of both realism and liberalism in “Ender’s Game.” The two extremes are demonstrated in Ender’s siblings. His older brother Peter is aggressive and mean, and his younger sister Valentine is loving and peaceful. Neither is accepted into the training academy. When it is Ender’s turn to go the academy, he must find a balance between these two extremes.

Ender has a good character; he does not seek fights but looks for the diplomatic or peaceful solution. He tries to find win-win situations. However, when forced into fights, he will fight back. When attacked by a gang of bitter boys at the academy, Ender tries to walk away at first, but the leader forces him to fight. When he gets the upper hand, he kicks the leader repeatedly, hoping to beat him so badly he will lose the desire to bully him, thus preventing any future attacks. However, Ender does not enjoy doing this. I like how this illustrates the Proverb “answer a fool according to his folly” (Proverbs 26:5). If all they understand is violence, a lesson must be taught that they will actually learn.

There is also a bit on leading by love vs. fear, another issue in IR. The kids are arranged into squads. Because of Ender’s goodness, fairness, strength of character, and likability, he becomes popular with most of the other trainees, but there’s one squad leader, Bonzo, who prefers to rule by fear. Bonzo quickly drops in popularity and seeks to hurt Ender. When Ender acts in self-defense, Bonzo is badly hurt, and Ender is devastated for what he unintentionally did. Even though I think Ender didn’t have to be so upset over the situation that wasn’t his fault, this further demonstrates his gentle character and raises him in favor with the other trainees.

The mantra of the adult in charge of the training academy, Colonel Graff, is realism. His goal is to protect the world from the bugs at all costs. It’s “us vs. them” and he’s determined to win. He sees potential in Ender and wants to develop him into a decisive, skilled leader. He has no problems playing games to do that. He puts Ender in situations to see how he’ll react. He observes Ender’s way of either beating up bullies or cleverly turning them to his side with great interest and approval. Unfortunately Col. Graff also has no problems with lying to Ender and keeping secrets from him in order to make Ender behave the way he wants, all the while showering him with praise. Ender does not appreciate the way the system is set up to mold these kids into military leaders. He also does not like the secrecy and lies that permeate the academy. But who would? Col. Graff wants to make Ender a great military leader, but doesn’t trust him enough to tell him the whole truth of the situation and let him figure it out. Graff still wants to be in control.

There is also a mystery that surrounds the Bugs themselves. They are the enemy, obviously. But most in the leadership of the training academy leave it at that. It’s “us vs. them.” Ender prefers to understand his enemy. He does this in simulations as he returns to the games and analyzes them, wanting to go deeper than just what appears on the surface. Then, once he understands the opposition, he usually ends up sympathizing with them. “When you really know your enemy, then you love him” he says. This is generally a good principle, but we must be careful not to go too far or act unwisely.

Ender’s final test is a battle simulation. He comes on the enemy and sees they are just sitting there, waiting. Wondering at this, but wanting to gain victory, he and his team strike first and destroy the enemy, though at a great cost to his own fleet. However, the situation turns out to not be a simulation—that is, or was, the entire enemy fleet, and Ender has just decimated them. He is hailed a hero, but instead of celebrating he is crushed, exclaiming, “I will bear the shame of this genocide forever!” Through visions, he finds the lair of the Queen bug, and finds her sick and weak and only wanting to care for her baby. The movie ends with him going to find a new home for the bugs, who were not planning to wipe out humanity after all.

Ender was firm that the liberalist way was best in this case. And I agree with him there. The enemy turned out to NOT be all ready to attack, as Col. Graff and the top brass kept insisting. And if Ender had been told the truth at that point about that situation, he would have sent people to reconnoiter and see what the enemy was doing. Once it was ascertained that an invasion was not imminent, parleys could be held, and/or peace terms could have been worked out. This is the liberalist way of doing things. Not that avoiding war at all costs is smart. But “if it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18). If there are alternatives to war, it’s best to take them. These are real human lives that are being dealt with. Also, you have to look at the big picture—the long term impacts. And, the fleet’s avoidance or at least postponement of attacking the bugs in this instance would have been a smart thing to do. The enemy’s off-guard position should have been noted, and more effort should have been put out to find out what they were actually doing. Lives on both sides would have been saved.

Demonstrated are interesting cases where a strong stand is better, and the ending demonstrates that war isn’t always the best solution.

So, those are some thoughts of mine on the movie Ender’s Game. I really liked it, not only as a cool sci-fi film, but also for the thought-provoking issues it raised. Have you seen the movie? What do you think?

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug


(Contains some spoilers.)

The unexpected journey continues.

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The background: In the opening scene, it is noted that, in order for the dwarvish armies to join together to reclaim their homeland of Erebor, Thorin, the rightful king, must posses the Arkenstone to demonstrate his legitimacy. Thus, the quest of the 13 dwarves and Bilbo to the Lonely Mountain to find the priceless stone.

The plot: Things definitely heat up in this second installment of the Hobbit trilogy. Azog the white Orc is called away by superiors and Bolg takes over as the company’s new foe. And he is relentless in the pursuit. The friction between Elves and Dwarves comes to the forefront. Thranduil the proud, greedy King of Mirkwood clashes with Thorin, who is still furious over his desertion of Erebor when it was under attack from the dragon. And a confrontation between the Dwarves and Smaug the dragon heats up to an inferno.

The hobbit: Bilbo, armed with not just “his courage,” as he remarks to Gandalf, but also with the magic Ring that grants its wearer invisibility, saves the Dwarves several times. Though it is tragic to watch how the Ring is slowly starting to take hold of him, influencing vicious actions.

The bad: The worst thing about the movie was the love triangle between Tauriel and Legolas and Kili the dwarf. It made things rather ridiculous. Like, Tauriel, supposedly captain of the Elven guard, was totally irresponsible, immature and impetuous to leave her position and take off to follow a dwarf—and if she was like that she would not have become captain of the guard in the first place! And the scene in which she sang over Kili, with the slow-mo and glowing light, was totally, totally a copy of the scene in The Fellowship of the Ring where Arwen first comes when Frodo is hurt. I’m disappointed in PJ for reneging on his promise to not make Legolas a part of any romance. The Tauriel character is cool, but the romance is unneeded in the story.

The book: I really liked how some things from the book were portrayed in the movie. Beorn the skin-changer is there, as a raging bear and a gruff man. Bilbo’s defeat of the spiders of Mirkwood with the use of his (newly named) sword Sting and the Ring is very neat. The barrel scene is there, though it is livened up with an Orc attack and swinging and jumping Elves everywhere. Lake town is really well done—so real and gritty looking. Bard the bowman gets fleshed out so much and even has a family; he’s a really nice character. The failure of his ancestor to kill Smaug in that attack so long ago weighs heavily on him, but he is a good, moral man who wants to do what’s right and refuses to be drawn in to or intimidated by the corruption in his town.

The action: There was a lot of fighting and action. I’m a big fan of the little band type of fighting (though I like the big army type too) and there’s a lot of that, with Dwarves, Elves, and Orcs all attacking each other. There are also major confrontations. Legolas faces down the huge Bolg and wields a mighty sword in the hand-to-hand combat. Gandalf confronts the dark powers at Dol Guldor in a battle of light against dark. The climactic scenes of Bilbo and the Dwarves in the dragon’s lair inside the Lonely Mountain are quite breathtaking. “Smaug the stupendous” is just that, plus being totally conceited. The vast underground chambers and piles upon piles of loose gold strewn all over, covering the floor, make for a dramatic setting for the showdown. The forges are lit and soon molten gold is streaming.

The lessons: A major development is the rapid growth of evil unexpectedly taking place. In the first movie, seeing Orcs was puzzling enough, but now their increasing numbers are plain alarming. Gandalf leaves to investigate further at Dol Guldor, the place where Radagast fought the Ringwraith and found the Morgul blade in the first movie. While the Dwarves and Bilbo are encountering Orcs, giant spiders and Smaug the dragon, Gandalf discovers that hundreds of orcs are massing at Dol Guldor and it has turned into a veritable fortress of the dark lord Sauron. This is bigger than any of them suspected.

“We’ve been blind…and in our blindness the enemy has returned.” -Gandalf

Things are clearly coming to a head. Evil has returned. It is growing. What to do?

Tauriel says it well.

Legolas: “It is not our fight.”

Tauriel: “It is our fight. It will not end here. With every victory, this evil will grow! If your father has his way, we will do nothing. We will hide with in our walls, live our lives without light and let darkness descend. Are we not part of this world? Tell me, Mellon [friend], when did we allow evil to become stronger than us?”

This is what every hero in Middle Earth thinks, and acts on. This is why there is a story to be told here at all. There is evil in the world. When it presses in, do we hide? Do we retreat? If we did, the darkness would overpower all. No, we must fight.

But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.
-Proverbs 4:18-19

The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
-Romans 13:1

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
-2 Corinthians 6:14

You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.
-1 Thessalonians 5:5

 

And some pictures, courtesy of http://www.TheHobbit.com.

(Click on pictures to bring up larger versions.)

Some wallpapers, courtesy of http://www.MoviesOfHollywood.com.

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Leadership: Lessons from King David


​King David was one of the greatest leaders of the ancient days. Even today, he is remembered and respected as such. Garry Wills’ text, Certain Trumpets, categorizes him as a “Charismatic Leader.” But how was David so successful? There are some important
lessons we can learn from David’s life and leadership if we consider several things that made him effective.

​To get to power, David needed outside help. Israel was a Theocracy in David’s time. The God of Israel was awed and revered. That was why David was accepted so readily. God chose him; therefore he was the right man. When their authority comes from outside, leaders do not have to do much to build themselves up. But David actively cultivated a relationship with the Lord. “And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD was with him” (1 Samuel 18:14). He was a “man after [God’s] own heart” (Acts 13:22). Relationships need to be built and developed. No one is an island. We all need help from time to time. Sometimes, superiors provide much needed help, as God did for David.

​Wills rightly declares in Certain Trumpets, “the leader most needs followers” (13). David did not lack those. He “was accepted in the sight of all the people” (1 Samuel 18:5). They were drawn to David. His bravery was astounding and his character winning. Leaders should understand and get to know their followers. King Saul, David’s predecessor, was not a leader who was well liked by the people. “And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and [David] became a captain over them” (1 Samuel 22:2). These men felt they could trust David more than they could their own current sovereign, Saul. Building rapport and relationships is the best way to ensure satisfaction and loyalty.

​For a leader, dealing with personal mistakes rightly is critical. Though David was one through whom God worked mightily, he was human as well. One notable example of his fallibility is the incident with Bathsheba. She was the wife of one of David’s generals, but that didn’t stop David from taking her to be his wife, killing her husband in the process. For a time, the incident went undiscovered but, when confronted by the prophet Nathan, David was convicted. He immediately and sincerely repented. Other times, David acted out of selfishness but, when God spoke to him or sent someone to speak to him, David realized his wrong, did not make excuses, and took the consequences. Leaders aren’t perfect; sometimes they’ll fail. But when they do, they must always be ready to own up, apologize and make amends. It shows that they are not ones to just shift blame, but will take responsibility.

​This is not a comprehensive list, to be sure, but these are some of the most important qualities in a leader. Cultivating relationships with authority, winning followers, and dealing honorably with failure—these are things which David exemplified and which today’s leaders would do well to learn.

Leadership: Certain Trumpets


Garry Wills’ book on leadership, Certain Trumpets, provides stories of famous leaders through history. This post will deal with some of those leaders— what helped them succeed and, in some cases, what made them fail.

​President Franklin D. Roosevelt empathized with people during the Great Depression because he himself was a victim of polio. He learned to overcome that and he was able to effectively encourage Americans that they too would be able to pull through their troubles, and they did.

​The reason for Harriet Tubman’s success in saving slaves during the Civil War can be attributed to an injury that she suffered at the hands of a slave owner and which left her with brain damage. Says Willis, “She had already died once; she had nothing to lose” in her focused quests to bring slaves to freedom (41).

​Andrew Young was not the most well known civil rights leader. However, he possessed a calmness and advocated an openness that diffused potentially explosive situations. He was often able to find middle ground between whites and blacks, rich and poor, and America and the third world.

​Napoleon is considered one of the finest military leaders ever. His military leadership was superb, but when he took the kingship, it was clear that was not where his talents lay. Wills shows that he was a military man, first and foremost; he was not able to adapt to political leadership (97).

​At the time of King David, Israel was a Theocracy. David was ordained by God and therefore accepted and revered by his men. Dashing, heroic, smart, popular, “literally the favored of God” as Wills calls him, he gained quite a following (108). David’s rule was so glorious his son Solomon’s “bureaucratic skills” fell far short of his father’s legacy and Israel was split in two (111).

​Businessman Ross Perot understood the importance of good salesmanship. Certain Trumpets shows how he acted with purpose, “shrewdness and daring” (127). From actively training and encouraging good salespeople, to “piggybacking” on things he’d learned in order to make great what was mediocre, he was enthusiastic about what he did and that contributed to his success in sales (126).

​Pope John XXIII had to follow a set of traditions, but he was able to act for the best as he saw it. Though this angered some in the Catholic Church, it won the people over to him. Certain Trumpets tells us a popular title for him was “Good Pope John” (143).

George Washington shaped history by helping to bring forth the United States of America. He was highly influential and could have used his vast power for selfish ends, but his “virtue” and consideration of the nation before himself enabled the successful development of America into a nation for the good of all (155).

Socrates learned how to juggle thinking and theorizing, with interacting with people. He did not shy away and become a hermit, but actively pursued penetrating conversations, inviting others to join him in his quests for knowledge, and that was what allowed his ideas to become so popular in his time.

Carl Stotz founded Little League baseball. Though developing a junior version of the game, setting up and outfitting teams, and dealing with the bureaucracy that followed was not easy, he did it and mobilized parents and volunteers to help. Thanks to his dedication, many young boys have the chance to take part in the great American tradition that is baseball.

Creating and linking images of black equality to the “familiar,” “old ties and commitments” of American standards like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the flag, Martin Luther King, Jr. became a powerful inspiration for striving together in pursuit of “liberty and justice for all” (222).

Not all good leaders are good people, but even from ruthless and conniving Cesare Borgia lessons can be learned. He had bravado and daring, ready to engage Lady Luck, “cope with the unexpected” and “face the unforeseen” (242). But when all else failed, Borgia could fall back on the loyal followers he had carefully developed.

Dorothy Day was firmly grounded in her Catholic faith—it inspired her to an outpouring of help to the poor and needy. And because she wisely “rarely took a confrontational stance with the church,” she was free to challenge injustice in society (259).

So, through the examples of the leaders in Certain Trumpets, it’s clear that, depending on personal idiosyncrasies and motivations, styles of leadership do vary. Compassion, focus, adaptability, discernment—these are some of the many qualities great leaders must possess or develop, if they are to lead well. The common thread running through their life stories is the consideration of something outside themselves. Whether that something was devotion to religion or sensitivity to followers, the lesson to be learned is that selfishness gets one nowhere. The memorable leaders have a great motivator and a great vision, which makes them effective.

Leadership: Right to Rule—Legitimate Authority


I recently finished up a Thomas Edison State College course on Leaders in History. So I though I’d share some of what I learned in the course. Several upcoming posts will be on this topic 🙂

Legitimate authority is the concept of a leader having or attaining a “right” to be in charge. This is addressed in the book Traditional Classics on Leadership, by Wren, Hicks, and Price, which gathers writings from famous and infamous people throughout history on the many facets of and issues relating to leadership.

One leader who exemplified the ideas of legitimate authority was Harriet Tubman. Sure, she could be tough on the people she led; she ran a tight ship because any mistakes could put many people in jeopardy. But the slaves who joined to Harriet’s ranks chose to be there because of the advantages she had as a knowledgable, connected member of the Underground Railroad. Hobbes and Locke (Wren, Hicks & Price) speak of people joining to a leader in order to have an easier, safer time. Though something may be doable on one’s own, it is often desirable to join to a leader.

Although not a traditionally elected leader, Tubman nevertheless fulfilled the requirements Calvin stated, of being a terror to the evil and delivering the poor, oppressed and needy (Wren, Hicks & Price, p. 141). Thus, she had a right to be leading as her goals were ones to which all legitimate leaders should aspire.

However, there were also leaders who were quite popular in their time, but who we know from history as oppressive and tyrannical. How did they gather the followers that they did?

Jim Jones was “charismatic and disturbed,” as about.com says. He started out with noble aims like desegregation and civil rights, but he let his personality and wants overcome those and started to selfishly force people into the way he wanted. By then he had become too powerful for his followers to refuse. The following from PBS.org says it well:

“Jim Jones attracted a large following to his Peoples Temple through sermons on tolerance, social responsibility and community. As the church grew, however, the sermons on equality and tolerance were belied by his own increasing demands for personal loyalty and obedience. The extent of his authority meant that his eventual breakdown transformed a personal tragedy into one of the largest mass deaths in American history.”

People joined Hitler because he was inspiring, making them feel patriotic and proud of their country. But when he started committing atrocities they refused to see or accept that and turned a blind eye, or continued to perform what they considered their duty, as seen in the Nuremberg trials. It seems that when people started to want to leave, the tyrannical leaders had grown so strong that it was very difficult to do so.

Stories like these demonstrate the importance of followers needing to be careful of who and what they join. People like to join to good causes or to ones that make them feel good. But crafty leaders can lie to gain a following. However, eventually their true colors will show and they will be revealed as tyrants and destroyers.

Sources:
Traditional Classics on Leadership by Wren, Hicks & Price (2004).
http://history1900s.about.com/od/people/p/jimjones.htm
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/biography/jonestown-bio-jones/

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