Three Bad Men John Ford, John Wayne, Ward Bond by Scott Allen Nollen

Another review of what sounds like a great book. We just got the book and haven’t had a chance to actually read it yet.

Mikes Film Talk


Growing up all three of these men were an integral part of my childhood. Specifically John “Pappy” Ford in the cinemas and of course John Wayne ‘Duke’ and Ward Bond as well, but Mr Bond had the added distinction of being in my folks’ living rooms each week as Major Seth Adams, in Wagon Train.

Of course, I saw all the films and television shows long after they were initially made. The films, I saw on Saturday night at the movies (usually accompanied by a huge bowl of popcorn and a tall ice filled glass of Coca-Cola) and the Wagon Train episodes I watched were the newer ones with John McIntire with the occasional re-run with Ward Bond in. Come to think of it, the McIntire ones were probably re-runs as well.

I do remember with perfect clarity that my family adored the John Wayne film Rio Bravo…

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Daily Prompt: Landscape – No Man Is An Island


I live in a forest. Not an allegorical or metaphorical forest. It’s the real deal, mainly oak now that the oaks have grown so tall they block the light needed by maple and other trees. We’ve had to thin them during the last few years because trees were growing too tightly and many had become unhealthy.

No one who lives in a forest can see it as a forest, but that doesn’t change ones awareness. Whether or not you can see it changes nothing. You eyes can see only trees, but your mind knows there are many more trees and any thoughts you might have on the subject are tempered by this knowledge. Inability to see an entire picture does not make one incapable of recognizing its existence.

Japanese Maple

With my house planted more or less squarely in the woods, how many trees I see depends on where I stand and look. From the back deck, I see more forest. I see fewer trees — less forest —  from the front or side of the house.

But what’s the difference between the forest and the trees? None! They are the same.

It’s like looking down and asking me if I see planks or a floor. I see both, because plank by plank or collectively, my mind understands its essential floorness and deals with it as such. Does it need sweeping? polishing? repair? I look at a floor, see planks and think floor.

One of the first signs of maturing intelligence (Piaget) in young children is their ability to recognize that the pieces of a thing are no different than the thing itself. By the time we are five or six years old, we have all made this leap of understanding. We know forests are composed of trees and trees are part of the forest. If we are regarding one tree , we don’t stop knowing it is part of the larger entity. Nor do we need to see an entire forest to know it’s there.

Things made up of many things partake of the spirit of the whole. This is how we understand our world and ourselves. No matter what piece you look at, unless you are literally blind, you are looking at the whole. We are individuals, but also part of our family, a group of friends and associates, and a member of our clan, tribe and humanity as a whole.

– – –

No Man Is An Island

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

John Donne

– – –


Jo Joe, by Sally Wiener Grotta

Pixel Hall Press, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Members’ Titles
314 pages, Publication Date: May 6, 2013

It would be hard enough growing up any different kind of kid in a small rural community. Growing up the only Jew in a poverty-stricken mountain town would be significantly harder. So what would it be like growing up a brown-skinned Jewish girl — the only Jew, the only person of color and the only foreigner — in an inbred narrow-minded fundamentalist Christian town with a strong skinhead militia contingent and longstanding prejudices against anyone who is at all different?

Add it together and it goes far beyond difficult and moves into the realm of nearly impossible.

Judith Ormand spent her early life in Paris, France, the daughter of a Black man and a converted-to-Judaism white mother. After her mother dies of causes never clearly explained, she ends up being raised by her Moravian German grandparents in a small insular Pennsylvania mountain village.

Her growing up years were punctuated by racial attacks, by violence, hatred and fear. Her only protector? Joe Anderson, a handsome blond football player, son of a drunken father and a skinhead, drug-dealer brother. When Joe — her beloved best friend — turns against her, her world is shattered. She vows, encouraged by her grandmother, to never under any circumstances return to Black Bear, Pennsylvania.

But Gramma and Grampa are gone and despite any promises she made, Judith — Jo — must return and face the nightmare of her growing up years and uncover the truth about the people she loved and lost.

The book is a compelling  psychological drama and Judith Ormand is a fascinating character, a perfect target for bigoted small town residents. I found the story gripping and honest …. until it approached the end.

All of a sudden, the book went into overdrive, as if the author had reached her page limit and now had to quickly tie up all the loose ends and somehow give this sad story a happy ending. I didn’t believe the ending. I didn’t find it emotionally honest and didn’t think it made sense based on everything that had gone before. After such a very promising start, it was a big disappointment.

For all that, the book is worth the read. The misery of a child who is so very different trying to find happiness in a frightening and hostile environment is heart-wrenching. I wish the author had stayed the course and written the ending with the same integrity she gave to the story’s beginning and middle.

Jo Joe  is available as a hardcover from Amazon. It will be available in paperback and on Kindle in June 2013.