FAME: TO BE THE GREATEST EVER – Garry Armstrong

RDP Thursday – FAME

“Someday, I’m gonna walk down the street. People will look at me and say, “There he goes, the greatest there ever was!'”

It’s a familiar line. We’ve heard it from would be wonder boys across generations. It’s a line we hear now, used in admiration and derision, to describe the New England Patriots’ 41-year-old quarterback Tom Brady.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his former backup Jimmy Garoppolo

Sports radio and television yakkers beat the controversy drums every day. Is Brady better than Joe Montana? Peyton Manning? Steve Young? Is he the greatest there ever was? Audiences foam at the mouth during the debate. It’s the stuff media executives dream about. Drives up ratings which in turn drives up prices for those who buy radio and TV time.

The greatest there ever was.

Robert Redford echoed the line as a young Roy Hobbs in the classic baseball film, “The Natural.” Hobbs was the young everyman who dreamed of greatness. Many of us pursued the same dream.

I grew up in a generation when there were still many doors to be opened. Many challenges to be faced and answered. The social divide was still very evident in the United States. Overt racism was on display for all to see, even in so-called cradles-of-liberty cities.

Women were seen, but not heard. Ogled and groped, but not respected. It’s the way we were — back in the day.  It’s also why so many of us were inspired to succeed.  We wanted to show our worth, our value. We wanted more than respect.

We seem to have regressed back to those days but I hope not permanently.

It was a clear road we walked — to be the greatest there ever was.

Garry – College days at WVHC (1963)

I remember a hot, muggy, September 1959 afternoon at the Parris Island U.S. Marine Corps training base. The base commander stopped to chat up a group of new Marines, just returned from a double-time forced march near the swamp infested grounds that lay outside the base.

The young Gyrenes were clearly tuckered out,  cursing the sandflies who nestled in their bodies. The commander zeroed in one group, singling out a young recruit of color who had attitude written on his face. “Private, how do you like the Marines, now?”

The young man broadened his smile. “Sir, permission to speak freely, sir?

The commander nodded. Red-faced drill instructors familiar with the young man stiffened in their nearby posts braced for the worst. The recruit eyed the DI’s, smiled at them and responded to the commander. “Sir, Private Armstrong is PROUD to be a marine, sir.”

The commander smiled.

The D.I.’s seemed relieved as the recruit continued talking to the commander who could make stripes disappear quickly off a sergeant’s shoulder.

“Sir, I love the Marines. I want to be the greatest there ever was, sir”.

The commander’s stoicism was replaced with a big smile. The D.I’s chuckled softly while glaring at Private Armstrong.

Garry at Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame induction

I did want to be the greatest Marine ever. This wasn’t any John Wayne fanboy stuff. My brief stint had fueled aspirations for a career in the Marine Corps, perhaps in the communications division.  My hearing difficulties would soon end my life as a Marine, but it was a time I still remember with pride. It also helped me plot the course for the rest of my professional life.

In the decades that followed, I never lost the fire in the belly from my Marine Corps days. Some thought the “glamour” of TV news kept me happy and satisfied over the years.

I remember catching up with old friends over the years. They would tell me how successful they were. I heard about how much money they were making. The fancy cars they were driving. Vacation homes, country clubs, and so on.

I couldn’t, wouldn’t play that game. I inevitably wound up repeating how much I enjoyed my work. I talked about excitement, interesting people, dramatic stories — and the chance to make a difference.

There usually was a pause from the friend. I would then tell them I still wasn’t satisfied. Yes, I had awards, celebrity but there was something else.

I still wanted to be the best there ever was. Best replaced greatest somewhere over the years. No matter. The concept had not changed, just the wording.

I’ve been retired for more than 18 years after banking 40 plus years on the job. I think I’m satisfied with my body of work. Satisfied doesn’t do it.

Part of me still wants to be the greatest there ever was.

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE SPACE – BY TOM CURLEY

Every week since our Fucking-Idiot-In-Chief got into the Oval Office, every news report starts with a version of “This is the worst week yet for the President.” And there’s a reason they say that. It’s true. What’s amazing is how he manages to make this week worse than the last.

There’s no floor. You can’t say, “he can’t get any worst than this” because he will just say, “Oh yeah? Hold my near-beer.” (El Presidente doesn’t drink so I had to modify the meme).

Near-beer!

But for a while, he was at least funny. He says stuff so stupid you just have to laugh. He writes all the late-night show’s monologues by himself (with a big assist by Fox News). But last week he stooped to depths of depravity so low, so disgusting that all the humor got pushed aside.  Ripping children from their parents and putting them in baby/toddler jails.

In the midst of this unspeakable evil, he was still trying to give us some comic relief. We were just too appalled, disgusted and enraged to notice it.


Our Chuckle-Head-In-Chief announced that he was ordering the Pentagon to create SPACE FORCE!


A “separate but equal branch” of the military. Separate but equal? What the hell does that mean? The Air Force and the Space Force have separate drinking fountains? And then he actually said, “There’s no place like space, there’s no place like space.”

That night, all the late show comedy writers went “well, we can take an early lunch.”

But here’s the thing. There already is a Space Force! Really! It’s been around since 1958. It was a syndicated comic strip called “Sky Masters of the Space Force!” created by Wally Wood and the great comic book artist Jack Kirby.

Can they sue? Well probably not, I’m pretty sure they’re both dead.

He said we need the Space Force because we not only need to be in space but we need to DOMINATE SPACE!

Now the question becomes, who do we draft into the Space Force? We can’t use all of our current astronauts. They’re all scientists and engineers who work at an international space station where people from different countries all get along and work together. We can’t dominate space with these wimps!

We need real Americans. Americans who want to make the galaxy great again! The only problem is, Trump only picks people for his administration who are on TV. But don’t despair! We have those heroes. Heroes like the Sky Masters of Space Force!

Oh wait, that was just a comic strip, not TV. OK, what about Tom Corbett, Space Cadet! He’s an American hero! He was on TV.

But, wait, he’s dead.

OK, what about Colonel Ed McCauley, head of the American Space Program in the 1959 TV show “Men into Space!” He was only on the air for a year, but he was still the head of the American Space Program!

The only problem is, he’s also dead.

OK, how about Ed Norton from the Honeymooners? He was an official ranger of Captain Video and his Video Rangers.

And what about Captain Video himself?

Shit, both dead.

Captain Kirk and Captain Jean Luc Picard are both still alive, but they don’t strike me as Trump’s kind of guys.

And hell, Kirk kissed a black girl.

Wait! Darth Vader! He’s totally a Trump kind of guy.

And, crap, he’s dead too.

This could be a problem. Because let’s face it, we know that aliens have already visited Earth. And what do they do? One word. Anal probes.

They’re sending rapists! We need to stop the infestation of real, actual illegal aliens! What can we do? Build a wall. A wall in space! And we’ll make the aliens pay for it!

OK, we’ll make Mars pay for it!

We need real Americans to step up. How about the real American’s at Fox News? Hannity, Coulter, Ingram, Carlson and those three stooges who do Fox and Friends.

Draft them.

Send them into space to defend America! Defend Earth! Whatever. Just send them into space. And make sure they stay there.

We can make them honorary Junior Birdmen.

To Infinity and beyond!

BUT MADAME I MUST INSIST!

“But Madame, I must insist!”

How many times have I heard that line in a movie or a book. Inevitably, it’s either a man talking to a woman — dominant to less dominant — or a “queen” dowager speaking to her underlings. There’s such a quality of superiority in that expression, the ultimate “I know so you have to listen to me because I KNOW.”

Photo: Garry Armstrong

With #METOO in progress — and with Our Elected Master deciding the one thing America has never needed except after winning a war — the last time was 1991 after George Bush purportedly won the Gulf War. Whether we “won” that is a moot point, but at least it was supposedly a  “victory.” I know there hasn’t been one since then because I would remember it. One of the great things about this country is that we have never needed to display our military might that way.


If a gigantic asteroid were barreling toward impact with our planet, you can bet there would be at least a few members of Congress who would insist on leaving it alone, either because they would see it as a warning shot from the Almighty or because a mining company with a savvy team of lobbyists had laid claim to the big rock.

David Horsey


We do display our military might in other ways of course — like invasions, engulfing, stealing natural resources — not to mention sometimes killing off entire populations. Mostly, though, we’ve skipped marching our soldiers and our tanks and rockets around for entertainment. We’ve never needed to do that.

“But, ” says that man who somehow, and I swear I will never understand how, became our elected president, “I insist. I want to see all my soldiers marching in neat lines. I want to see tanks and rockets and missiles all shiny. And I’m going to have a special uniform with lots of gold braid and maybe a really fancy hat and I insist that everyone salute me. Do you think I could insist everyone call me ‘Your Majesty’?”

He looks around and does not see how everyone’s face is red and hidden in their hands. Our national shame is blustering again.

And then, there’s  … “I don’t want to go to a fancy restaurant. There’s never any place to park and I have to wear heels and stockings. The waiter acts like Lord of the Manor where I don’t live,” I say.

“But I insist,” says my date. Not my guy. I already know this before the date begins. I’ve never been involved with anyone who used those words in a conversation with me. I come from a family with a big mean daddy who always insisted. He insisted when he was completely wrong and had no idea what he was talking — but just to confuse us, he also insisted when he was right. It was remarkably difficult to tell the difference.

I’m pretty sure where at least one chunk of my cynicism comes from. Erratic parents are the worst. When they are knowledgeable sometimes and completely ass-backward the rest of the time. You don’t know what to believe. If you are me, ultimately, you don’t believe anything without three kinds of proof.

The harder they insist, the more I am inclined to resist.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

You can reason with me. You can prove your point with facts and if you also make me laugh, I will not only agree with you, but I will love you for it. I will listen to your point of view as long as you aren’t stuffing it up my nose, calling me names, or behaving like an asshole.

Just don’t insist.

Unless the house is burning down and you know the only way out. Then, feel free to insist.

THE BIG MILITARY PARADE: A GARRY ARMSTRONG PRODUCTION

I can see it all.

Agent Orange will dress as a military general with lots of fruit on his shoulders when they hold his big parade.  I’m seeing Sterling Hayden and George C. Scott  (“Dr. Strangelove”) in this scenario.
Imagine, if you will, the wonderful, amazing “coming attractions” they could produce for this bigly event!

TRUMP: THE MAN, THE MYTH AND THE LEGEND 


2018/MGM-Warner Bros

Starring:

JOHN WAYNE, GARY COOPER, HENRY FONDA, ERNEST BORGNINE, ROBERT RYAN, LEE MARVIN, JOHN MILLS, JOHN GIELGUD, LAURENCE OLIVIER, PETER O’TOOLE, OMAR SHARIF, GERT FROBE,
RICHARD ATTENBOROUGH, STEVE McQUEEN, YUL BYRNNER, CHARLES BRONSON

With 

ROB GRONKOWSKI as “TRUMP”

A SAM PECKINPAH, OLIVER STONE PRODUCTION.

THE GREATEST THERE EVER WAS – GARRY ARMSTRONG

“Someday, I’m gonna walk down the street. People will look at me and say, “There he goes, the greatest there ever was!'”

It’s a familiar line. We’ve heard it from would be wonder boys across generations. It’s a line we hear now, used in admiration and derision, to describe the New England Patriots’ 40-year-old quarterback Tom Brady as sports fans around the world await this year’s football Superbowl which pits Brady’s reigning Superbowl champion Pats against the underdog Philadelphia Eagles.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his former backup Jimmy Garoppolo

Eagles’ Nation, yearning for their first-ever Superbowl, unleashed the trash talk even before both teams won their division championship games to advance to the Superbowl. Taunts from fans and players barely mask their admiration for Brady who sets new records almost every time he throws a completed pass.

Sports radio and television yakkers beat the controversy drums every day. Is Brady better than Joe Montana? Peyton Manning? Steve Young? Is he the greatest there ever was? Audiences foam at the mouth in the debate. It’s the stuff media executives dream about with over a week to go before the game.  You have hours, days. So much time to fill with anything to hold your audience.

The greatest there ever was. Robert Redford echoed the line as a young Roy Hobbs in the classic baseball film, “The Natural.” Hobbs was the young everyman who dreamed of greatness. Many of us pursued the same dream.

I grew up in a generation when there were still many doors to be opened. Many challenges to be faced and answered. The social divide was still very evident in the United States. Overt racism was on display for all to see, even in so-called cradles-of-liberty cities. Women were seen, but not heard. Ogled and groped, but not respected. It’s the way we were — back in the day.  It’s also why so many of us were inspired to succeed.  We wanted to show our worth, our value. We wanted more than respect.

It was a clear road we walked — to be the greatest there ever was.

Garry – College days at WVHC (1963)

I remember a hot, muggy, September 1959 afternoon at the Parris Island U.S. Marine Corps training base. The base commander stopped to chat up a group of new Marines, just returned from a double-time forced march near the swamp infested grounds that lay outside the base. The young Gyrenes were clearly tuckered out,  cursing the sandflies who nestled in their bodies. The commander zeroed in one group, singling out a young recruit of color who had attitude written on his face. “Private, how do you like the Marines, now?”

The young man broadened his smile. “Sir, permission to speak freely, sir?

The commander nodded. Red faced drill instructors familiar with the young man stiffened in their nearby posts, braced for the worst. The recruit eyed the DI’s, smiled at them and then responded to the commander. “Sir, Private Armstrong is PROUD to be a marine, sir.  The commander smiled.

The D.I.’s seemed relieved as the recruit continued talking to the commander who could make stripes disappear quickly off a sergeant’s shoulder. “Sir, I love the Marines. I want to be the greatest there ever was, sir”.  The commander’s stoicism was replaced with a big smile. The D.I’s chuckled softly while glaring at Pvt. Armstrong.

Garry at Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame induction

I did want to be the greatest Marine ever. This wasn’t any John Wayne fan boy stuff. My brief stint had fueled aspirations for a career in the Marine Corps, perhaps their communications division.  Alas, my hearing difficulties would soon end my life as a Marine, but that was a time I’d always remember with pride. It also help me plot the course for the rest of my professional life.

In the decades that followed, I never lost the fire in the belly from my Marine Corps days. Some thought the “glamour” of TV news kept me happy and satisfied over the years.

I remember catching up with old friends over the years. They would tell me how successful they were. I heard  about how much money they were making. Cars they were driving. Vacation homes, country clubs, and so on.  I couldn’t, wouldn’t play that game. I usually wound up repeating how much I enjoyed my work. I talked about excitement, interesting people, dramatic stories … and the chance to make a difference.

There usually was a pause from the friend. I would then tell them I still wasn’t satisfied. Yes, I had awards, celebrity but there was something else. I still wanted to be the best there ever was. Best replaced greatest somewhere over the years.

I’ve been retired for more than 17 years now after banking 40 plus years on the job. I think I’m satisfied with my body of work. Satisfied doesn’t do it.

Part of me still wants to be the best there ever was.

A REAL LIFE ‘M.A.S.H.” STORY – BY ELLIN CURLEY

My first husband, Larry, was in R.O.T.C. in college. That meant that he would become an officer when he entered the U.S. Army. So, after basic training, he became a Lieutenant, not a grunt. He was sent to Vietnam for a year. I think it was 1970-1971. He was assigned a M.A.S.H. unit to run near the front (all M.A.S.H. units were near the front). He was in charge of over 200 people.

Larry was lucky he didn’t have the traumatic experiences of soldiers who were fighting in the field. Thee active, fighting soldiers were the ones treated at Larry’s medical center.

Larry when he went to Vietnam

Larry loved to tell the stories of the two incidents that happened on his watch that resulted in injuries to his people. These were the only two injuries to his staff on his watch.

One of the big projects on the base was the building of a huge, state of the art swimming pool. Like in the movie and TV shows, of “M.A.S.H.”, Larry’s unit was able to get hold of steel beams that were earmarked for bridges in the area. They used these beams to reinforce the substructure of the pool. This was one solid swimming pool!

When the pool was almost done and was half full, a couple of guys got drunk and one of them fell in. The guy almost drowned before his buddies were able to drag him out of the water.

The second incident happened at the guard station on the grounds. The two soldiers on guard duty were apparently ‘playing’ with their guns. One went off and shot the other guy in the gut. If he hadn’t been literally on the grounds of a hospital, he would have bled out.

There was a Court Martial hearing for these guys. Remember they were guards, at the front, in an active war zone. They used the classic defense: “We didn’t know that the guns were loaded!” I swear to God this actually happened! Obviously they were convicted and thrown out of the Army. It was almost a Darwin Award situation.

Larry, in drag, in the Army Base Xmas show in Vietnam

So, Larry’s military experiences were more “M.A.S.H” than “Apocalypse Now”. He was very lucky, and so were the two bozos in this story. Can you imagine having to tell a grieving family their loved one had died in either of these two ways?