Thursday, January 27, 2011

Could It Be? - CS Lewis

I guess most people know that I've been searching for some film footage of CS Lewis for several years now. I know both in my heart and my head that it must exist for several reasons. The catch is that any such footage, while rare, would probably be fairly unexciting. If any is found, he would probably just be another face in a crowd at some event at Oxford or Cambridge. I've been mostly searching through various archival footage of "events", "commencement ceremonies", and "graduation ceremonies" at these schools. I think today I may have finally hit pay dirt. The above is a still I've taken from a ceremony at Oxford where various ally leaders from WWII (most notably General Eisenhower) were given honorary degrees. As near as I can tell, this film was made in 1945, or at least NATO's web page lists Eisenhower as having received such a degree that year:

Nato's Eisenhower Page

This still is from low resolution footage from an 8-minute film, but I ask you, does this not look like Lewis' round Irish mug? You'll notice from the collar that he's wearing an Oxford gown. I thought I'd post it here to get a few opinions first before I lay out the money to the film news agency who owns this for higher resolution footage where I'll be able to see his face much better.

To be honest, the more I view the footage, the less I think it's him. The man here seems to almost be a little too bald. His face comes up in the footage several times. There's an extremely good chance though that Lewis and JRR Tolkien both are in this crowd along with Lewis' brother Warnie (all were war vets). Even if they are not, it's fun for me to watch a ceremony where many of their peers and friends must be present, and to see how life was during this time at Oxford. It gives me the feeling of what it was like to almost be with him. You can watch it for yourself here at Pathe Films.

Here's another film Pathe has of the same event which mostly shows the people coming into the hall. It's also much shorter in length: Second Film

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Setbacks? We Got Plenty

I told my dad, just before he died, that I was working out again and trying to get back into the kind of shape I used to be in. I know that made him real happy because he was worried about my health among other things. I was a pretty dedicated power lifter for a number of years. When I quit lifting ten years ago I was 41 years old, 6'5" tall, weighed 260, and could dead lift and squat around 600 Lbs. Now I'm way over 300 and get out of breath just doing basic things around the house.

It was nice to be working out again. I was doing pretty darn good I thought. I had already dropped about twenty pounds... and then dad got sick. Going to the hospital and later the nursing home every night left little room for working out. I had something more important to do now.

Then after pop passed on I went through a nightmare with Citimortgage Company. The bank my dad had his home loan with was bought out by this company, and a worse company I have never come across. They have no local offices, and if you call them you'll have a very hard time getting anyone on the line who can speak proper English. (Yes, it's that bad). I was the executor of the will and my sister's name and mine both were on the deed to dad's house. I wanted her to have it. No one was contesting anything. But still, this world's worst excuse for a mortgage company insisted I go to court and pay hundreds of dollars to get a Letter of Office before they would allow me to make any changes to the deed. It was just absurd! Dad didn't owe much on the house, and my sister had enough with her share of the life insurance money to pay it off completely. I finally had to get a lawyer to handle things. Of course the first thing he said was that I shouldn't need a Letter of Office for putting the deed solely in my sister's name since we were both already on it, and I just wanted to take my name off. Once a lawyer got involved the mortgage company quickly gave in. Why didn't they relent without us having to pay a lawyer? It was just a matter of doing the right thing, something they had no intention of without a lawyer to threaten suit against them. Mortgage companies, usury, it's an evil road to travel.

Finally winter came, work slowed, the mortgage thing was settled, we were done with all the other normal things you have to do when there's a death in the family, all was well with the world, and I was ready to get going on this workout routine again. I cut myself down to 1,500 calories with less than a hundred grams of fat and a hundred of carbohydrates. I settled into a pretty grueling routine of two to three hours per day. An hour and a half of lifting weights and riding the stationary bike followed by an hour of climbing steps and maybe a little bit of clobbering the big bag. Things were going swell! Then I suddenly got hit with insomnia. I've never had it this bad. I went three nights in a row with a total of six hours sleep. The following day I started getting cold symptoms. And then it hit me hard! Man I don't know if I've ever had a cold that made me so run down. I couldn't move. Unfortunately I've found that old saying about feeding a cold and starving a fever to be correct. Your body will reject food if you have a fever. It will also crave carbs if you have a cold. That's just the way it works. If you have a cold and you want to get well, you have to eat.

So here I am hoping and praying that I haven't been knocked back to square one. I feel a bit better today. Perhaps the end of the bad times is in sight. I'm down, but still kicking. No one will care about this post. This one is just for me. It's just to remind myself of the best adage in the world: "When the going gets tough, the tough get going!"

Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
~~ St. Paul
As Batman... ur... Fatman would say: