It’s Friday, and I’m taking care of the last minute details before my computer is placed on a long, long trailer, along with 73 boxes, and very little furniture on Saturday, December 28th, for the journey to Texas. After living in Los Angeles for 27 years, I’m looking forward to returning to my home state, and starting a new life. I’m already missing California’s great weather.


May all of your wishes come true this holiday season, and Happy New Year!





Miller was born on October 12, 1919 to Connery and Henrietta Miller.  He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on September 16, 1939, where he became a Mess Attendant, Third Class, one of the few ratings then open to African Americans.  After his training at the Naval Training Station in Norfolk, Virginia, he was assigned to the ammunition ship Pyro, but on January 2, 1940, he was transferred to the battleship West Virginia, where he became the main cook.

On December 7, 1941, Miller awoke at 0600.  After serving breakfast in the mess hall, he proceeded to start his daily duties of collecting laundry.  At 0757, the first of nine torpedoes was launched and hit the West Virginia.  Miller ran immediately to his battle station, an antiaircraft battery magazine amidship, and discovered the blast from the torpedo had destroyed it.

Miller was ordered by a commanding officer to assist him in loading the unmanned #1 and #2, Browning .50 caliber anti-aircraft machine guns.  Although, Miller was unfamiliar with the weapons, he learned quickly, and began firing the starboard gun until it ran out of ammunition.

He was noted for his bravery, and one of the first heroes of World War II, during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  He was the first African American honored with the third highest award, the Navy Cross.

On May 15, 1943, Miller was appointed as a Petty Officer, Ship’s Cook, Third Class, at Puget Sound Navy Yard, and on June 1st, he reported for duty on the escort carrier Liscome Bay.  After training in Hawaii, the Liscome Bay took part in the Battle of Makin Island, beginning November 20th.  On November 24th, the ship was struck in the stern by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine 1-175.

The ship sank within minutes after the aircraft bomb magazine detonated.  Only 272 crew members survived, out of over 900, but Miller was not among them.  He was presumed dead, and two years after his heroic actions at Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1943, Miller’s parents were informed that their son was Missing in Action.



The Sullivans were an Irish Catholic, American family living in Waterloo, Iowa.  Thomas and Alleta Sullivan had six children named George Thomas, Francis Henry, Joseph Eugene, Madison Abel, Albert Leo, and Theresa.

The Sullivan brothers enlisted in the United States Navy on January 3, 1942, with the stipulation that they serve together.  The Navy enforced a strict policy of separating siblings.  However, in this case, the rule was not strictly enforced and the Navy Department granted official permission for the boys to serve together aboard the USS Juneau, a light cruiser.

On the early morning of November 13, 1942, while sailing across the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, the USS Juneau was struck by a Japanese torpedo and forced to withdraw, and left the Solomon Islands with other surviving US warships from battle.  While leaving, the Juneau was struck for the second time by a Japanese submarine.  The Juneau exploded and quickly sank.

All five brothers were lost at sea, and their parents were notified by a lieutenant commander, a doctor and a chief petty officer on January 12, 1943.  The Sullivan brothers were national heroes, and President Roosevelt sent a letter of condolence, and Pope Pius XII sent a silver religious medal and rosary with his message of regret to Tom and Alleta Sullivan, parents of the five brothers.

On behalf of the war effort, Thomas and Alleta Sullivan appeared for speaking engagements at war plants and shipyards, and later Alleta participated in the launching of a Destroyer named after her sons, USS The Sullivans.

The Sullivans were not the only brothers to die on a ship.  The Borgstrom brothers perished within a few months of each other, two years later.  Therefore, as a result of the Sullivans’ death, the U.S. War Department adopted the Sole Survivor Policy, a set of U.S. military regulations designed to protect members of a family from the draft or combat duty if they have already lost family members in military service.

The 1944 biographical film, The Fighting Sullivans, starring Anne Baxter is worth watching!



Audie Leon Murphy was born on June 20, 1924 in Kingston, Hunt County, Texas.  He grew up in poverty on a farm, and was the seventh of twelve children.  His parents were sharecroppers of Irish decent.

He was an American soldier, actor, songwriter, and the most famous and decorated combat soldiers of World War II, including the Congressional Medal of Honor.

His dream was to become a soldier, and on June 30, 1942, during World War II, he lied about his age to enlist in the United States Army, as an Infantryman (Parachute Troops).  He would become a legend and true inspiration in the 3rd Infantry Division.

He was only 19 years old when he received the Congressional Medal of Honor.  He also served in the Mediterranean and European Theater of Operations, and received several medals and decorations for heroism in combat.  Murphy always maintained that the medals belonged to his entire military unit.

After the war, Murphy suffered from postwar combat nightmares, which caused him to sleep with a loaded .45 by his bedside.  He also became addicted to sleeping pills, and drew public attention to his trauma, which would later be labeled as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital in San Antonio is named for him.

To make matters worse, he was a heavy gambler and filed for bankruptcy in 1968.  Although his life was filled with legal troubles after the war, he remained mindful of his influence on youth, refusing to appear in commercials for alcohol and cigarettes.

Murphy was honored with a total of 32 U.S. and Foreign medals.  Listed below is a number of honors.



Medal of Honor  (the United States Military’s highest award for Valor)

Distinguished Service Cross

Silver Star (2)

Legion of Merit

Bronze Star Medal (2)

Purple Heart (3)

Outstanding Civilian Service Medal

Good Conduct Medal

Distinguished Unit Emblem

American Campaign Medal

European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal

World War II Victory Medal

Army of Occupation Medal

Combat Infantry Badge

Marksmanship Badge

Expert Marksmanship Badge

French Fourragere

French Legion of Honor, Grade of Chevalier

French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star

French Croix de Guerre with Palm

Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm

Medal of Liberated France



In 1945, Murphy’s path led him to James Cagney, who sent him to study acting at the Actor’s Lab in Hollywood while he lived as a guest in Cagney’s home.  His new career path would span 20 years, and 44 films, primarily westerns.

To Hell and Back is an autobiographical film, starring Murphy about his life as a war hero.  In 1955, the film was Universal Studios highest grossing film, and held this record until Steven Spielberg’s film, Jaws.

Murphy died tragically at the age of 45, in an airplane crash near Catawba, Virginia on May 28, 1971.  He was interred on June 7, 1971, with full military honors, in Arlington National Cemetery.  His gravesite is second to President John F. Kennedy’s for most-visited.


The relationship between the Military and Hollywood has served each side’s needs for many years.



During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt received requests from six civilian organizations to create a social entity to motivate, boast morale and provide recreational services for men in the armed forces. President Roosevelt founded the USO in 1941, and served as honorary chairman.

The USO was aided by non-USO groups for fundraising, and opened centers and clubs around the world to serve as a home away from home for GIs.  It was a place for free breakfast, entertainment, socializing or, to sit quietly and write letters to loved ones back home.

In 1942, CBS started a weekly radio variety show called Stagedoor Canteen.  However, in 1943, United Artists, MGM, 20th Century Fox and RKO Studios joined the effort and released films starring some of its highest paid stars. From 1941 to 1947, the USO centers and clubs presented more than 400,000 performances.

In today’s language, the USO was actually a huge social network for military personnel, civilians and movie stars.


The USO centers and clubs recruited attractive female volunteers to serve snacks and refreshments, dance and talk with GIs.  Famous entertainers such as Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth traveled over a million miles to entertain the troops.



In 1941, Bob Hope began his legendary contribution to GIs, and it ended with his final Christmas show in 1990 during Operation Desert Shield.  In 1996, he was honored for his enormous contribution to the USO, as the first and honorary veteran of the United States Armed Forces.

Mr. Hope, thanks for the memories!




In honor of our heroes, who have sacrificed and served throughout the past, present and future of our nation’s history to protect our freedom, as well as the freedom of others with valor and gallantry in action, throughout the day and twilight hours.

Thank you again for your service!


Erik_Satie_-_BNF1-croppedEric Alfred Leslie Satie was born in Paris on May 17, 1866. An eccentric French composer and pianist during the 20th Century Parisian avant-garde, he was referred to as a gymnopedist in 1887, shortly before writing his most famous compositions, the Gymnope’dies, published in Paris, starting in 1888.

Mr. Satie left a remarkable body of music and writings.  After many years of heavy drinking, he died of cirrhosis of the liver on July 1, 1925.


What happened to the good old days!

It appears that Santa came in for a hard landing!



Please feel free to explore the magical sound of the Hollyridge Strings.  The title of my favorite is Santa’s Got A Brand New Bag.


File:William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) - Homer and his Guide (1874).jpg

Homer and His Guide, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825–1905), portraying Homer on Mount Ida, beset by dogs and guided by the goat herder Glaucus (as told in Pseudo-Herodotus)

Homer is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and revered in the Greek world as the greatest ancient epic poet.

File:Francesco Primaticcio 003.jpg

The Abduction of Helen, with Aphrodie directing by Francesco Primaticcio (1530–39)

File:J G Trautmann Das brennende Troja.jpg

The Burning of Troy by Johann Georg Trautmann (1759/62)

Here is a trailer of one of my favorite Helen of Troy films starring Jacques Sernas as Paris, and Rosanna Podeste as Helen.

The full movie of The Odyssey starring Armand Assante as Odysseus, and the soundtrack is absolutely beautiful.

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