Top Gun – Still Flying High after 30 Years

w704Funny what gets out attention going on subjects sometimes. I fell in love with the American Civil War in elementary school, during the centennial celebration, especially the books by Bruce Catton. As someone said, you could feel the heat, the dust, the boredom, and the horrors of battle in his words. Those legendary armies still, all these years, later, march in my mind. That became an obsession with first military history and later history in general. If I’m troubled about most anything, you’re likely to find me with my nose in a book, and invariably it will be either history, or a historical novel, and some of them are very good.

Seems like I’m not the only one, either. My friend Dale, over at Command Performance Leadership, tells a similar tale about the opening of Top Gun a few days over thirty years ago. Well, OK, I admit it, I loved it then, and I still do today, as well. But like good history, Top Gun has some lessons to teach, and that’s Dale’s business, so listen up, we’re gonna sortie right into The Danger Zone.

One month before I left for boot camp, on May 16, 1986, the iconic movie, Top Gun, opened in theaters.  Starring Tom Cruise, playing the role of Lieutenant Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell, Top Gun would become one of the most endearing military movies of all time.  From its opening scene (may I opine: The best opening scene to a movie ever!), to it victorious ending, this movie is jam-packed with great action and music.

If you don’t believe us, hook that video up to a good stereo, and crank it. This was the first movie I bought on videotape (Betamax stereo, in fact), and it’s hard to describe (in polite company) what my reaction was when I played it through my fairly adequate stereo.

In addition to its excellent music and its action-packed scenes, the movie’s dialogue is immortal.  Comical, hard-hitting and full of power and meaning, Top Gun is full of unforgettable lines, like these:

Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.” ~ Captain Tom “Stinger” Jordan

“Top Gun rules of engagement are written for your safety and for that of your team.  They are not flexible, nor am I” ~ CDR Mike “Viper” Metcalf (Commander, U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School – Top Gun)

“A good pilot is compelled to evaluate what’s happened, so he can apply what he’s learned” ~ Viper

These, and many other lines, certainly capture the strict discipline and protocol that you would expect from the military.  And, then there arelines that you might use at work just to annoy your co-workers, such as the infamous, “I feel the need … the need for speed.”  Or, there are lines like the ones listed below that are suited for everyday use and have particular meaning (click on image to be taken to larger image via its web link ): [It won’t work here, but it will from CPL. Neo]

*Courtesy: The Further Adventures of Doctrine Man (Facebook), akaDoctrine Man (Twitter)*

Out of the movie also comes leadership wisdom.  Top Gun is referenced often when discussing leadership and team dynamics; a sort of leadership ethos.  This was extensively explored by Bob Jennings andJ. Israel Thompson in a series of posts that were written as fictional “interviews” with key characters from the movie.  Links to each of those posts are listed below:

Often in the movie, however, there are those times when a butt-chewingwas necessaryThe fine art of delivering corrective action is sometimes garnished with some colorful language.  As the movie evolves, you notice Viper’s style becomes the textbook example of how to deliver negative feedback.  There is, obviously, a right way and a wrong way.

Like Dale, I too learned a lot about leadership from, “Those Magnificient Men in their Flying Machines”, but I’m nearly a generation older, I learned from Gregory Peck, General Savage in 12 O’Clock High. But you know we learned the same lessons, B-17s going to Germany, or F-14s in the Indian Ocean, the lessons are essential and timeless. And just as true in the civilian world, as in the Navy, or the Air Force.

But Dale also brought some fun.

Which ‘Top Gun’ Character Are You?

Quiz #1          Quiz #2          Quiz #3          Quiz #4

______________________________________________________________

Call Sign Generator

via Top Gun – Still Flying High after 30 Years | Command Performance Leadership

Which character am I? well, if you must know, Maverick twice, Jester, and Iceman, once each. I think that’ll do.:)

And remember: “The plaque for alternates is down in the ladies room“!

The Real Wayne

2E49CEE500000578-3311130-image-m-32_1447128028102Every once in a while, and it’s rare, one of those articles comes along, that one simply wants to reprint. But one can’t both because we have respect for the author and the original publisher, and because of the copywrite laws, which protect us all. So we excerpt and we link, and we urge you to ‘read the whole thing’™. This is one of those times, from Ron Capshaw writing on www.libertylawsite.org.

On a movie set many years ago, actress Geraldine Page found herself seated between actor Ward Bond, an enforcer of the blacklist of communists then raging in Hollywood, and his friend, the conservative actor John Wayne. Page was only accustomed to being around her fellow show business liberals, so she listened to the two men’s conservative views with a sense of “horror.” But as the conversation went on, she developed a marginally more favorable view of Wayne, whom she called a “reactionary for all sorts of non-reactionary reasons.”

“I swear that if John Wayne ever got transplanted out of this circle of people that are around him all the time,” said Page, “he would be the most anti-reactionary force for . . . good.”

Such distinctions were not made by liberal lawmakers in Sacramento recently. The California legislature voted down a Republican lawmaker’s proposal for a “John Wayne Day” for the state of California, declaring Wayne beyond the pale because of his support for the House Un-American Activities Committee and the John Birch Society.

On the surface, they would seem to have a case. Wayne did support the blacklist against movie-industry communists, saying, for example, that he never regretted running screenwriter Carl Foreman out of the country. He did support Senator Joseph McCarthy’s (R-Wis.) sloppy and self-serving statements about communists in government. And he indeed was a member of the John Birch Society, a bookish (which is to say nonviolent) but undeniably zany group that entertained conspiracy theories about who controlled the levers of the U.S. government. He also supported the U.S. defense of South Vietnam, which was under siege by guerrillas supplied by the communist North Vietnamese.

The liberals in the California legislature also charged racism, citing a 1971 interview Wayne gave to Playboy magazine in which he said: “I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.”

Well. A few other things also need to be considered…

– See more at: The Real Wayne

Sounds a lot like almost every American I’ve ever known and respected. Maybe why that’s after all these years, he’s still the favorite actor of many of us, as well as around the world. There wasn’t anything simple about him, and there isn’t about us either.

But also like many of us, including Jess, I rarely think of the Duke without thinking of Maureen O’Hara. Seems to me a strong character like Wayne, needs a strong co-star to play off, and that ginger Irish lass was about as strong as they come, and they worked so well together.

But when she died last fall, I missed something. Did you guys realize that she was buried next to her husband, Brigadier General Charles Blair, USAF, at Arlington Memorial Cemetary, the General and his Lady, still with the troops, as it should be? By the way, he died in an aircraft accident in 1978.

2E47407B00000578-3311130-She_was_buried_next_to_her_husband_U_S_Air_Force_Brig_Gen_Charle-a-33_1447113520697It is also reported that when she died, she was listening to the soundtrack of The Quiet Man. I like that, not least because it is one of my favorite movies, maybe my favorite. It’s also reported that amongst the mourners was Melinda Munoz, John Wayne’s daughter.

The Shannon Rovers from Chicago perform bagpipe music during the graveside service for Maureen O'Hara

The Shannon Rovers from Chicago perform bagpipe music during the graveside service for Maureen O’Hara

But she never forgot her Irish heritage either, saying, “My heritage has been my grounding, and it has brought me peace”. She also said, “Some people see me as a former screen siren while others remember me as the dame who gave as good as she got in movies with John Wayne, for example,’ she reflected.

‘Many women have written to me over the years and said I’ve been an inspiration to them, a woman who could hold her own against the world.’

And the Duke said this, “She’s a great guy. I’ve had many friends, and I prefer the company of men. Except for Maureen O’Hara.

From The Daily Mail

So it’s been a busy week, for me, for Jess, and for most of you, as well. So let’s sit back and remember the general’s lady when she was the colonel’s lady, in the last of the trilogy, Rio Grande.

Flame out: and a Farewell

MusicSome of you have heard that Bill Whittle is leaving PJ Media. This is his final Firewall. Let’s let him tell it.

I’ve loved Bill Whittle for a long time before I started this blog, I ran across one of his essays on Eject, Eject, Eject that he called Honor. It was the story of the incredible way our services honor their deceased brothers, in this case, Bill’s father, whose only claim to military fame was that he held the stopwatch at the executions at Nuremberg. He is one of the people who unknowingly inspired me to try my hand at blogging. We’ve carried many of the Afterburners, and it is only fair to append the YouTube description from this one.

Bill Whittle says goodbye to PJTV, the producers and staff, and all of you. The Afterburner jet is flaming out, but Bill’s not giving up on speaking the truth. Go to billwhittle.com and become a member, to keep his original content (and his videos with Scott Ott and Steve Green) alive.

Do support him, I know I will.

In similar news, Peter Phillips has ended his music column in The Spectator. The Spectator is, of course, one of the most renowned and ancient (since 1828, when it revived the name of an earlier publication) British conservative weekly. It’s one of my weekly reads and I enjoy it immensely.

Here is a bit of that.

This, my 479th, is to be my last contribution as a regular columnist to The Spectator. I have written here for 33 years and 4 months, a way of life really, and one I have greatly enjoyed. I thank Auberon Waugh in absentia for suggesting me to Alexander Chancellor in the first place; and Charles Moore for keeping me on in the early years, once we were up and running. I also thank three quite exceptional arts editors: Gina Lewis, Jenny Naipaul and the doyenne of these pages, Liz Anderson.

Things have moved on from my habitual think pieces, outraged rants, ad hominem demolition of palpable idiots written in the back of aeroplanes. Perhaps if I had shot less often from the hip I would have been saved some of my more unfortunate calls to order, like the occasion I was summoned to Buckingham Palace for a dressing-down, resulting in the imposition of the Official Secrets Act. It was fun, though, in retrospect. I still stand amazed at the power of the written word. People will tolerate almost anything but being on the wrong side of a published opinion.

From Peter Phillips bids farewell to his music column after 33 years

So kind of a sad post, but both Bill Whittle and The Spectator will survive and continue to enlighten us. Life goes on, and so will we, regretting those whom we no longer get to enjoy, but finding new favorites.

But do join billwhittle.com. You know we all enjoy him, and we should be willing to pay for it.

Gaudium et Spes: The Church in the Modern World

eb1050dd-5a47-45db-9243-08b6c3276143This Newman Lecture is by the Rt Revd Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth, whose title is also the title of the post.

Bishop Philip is a graduate of King’s College, London and the University of Birmingham (PhD, Theology). He undertook his formation for the priesthood at Allen Hall, London and the Venerable English College, Rome, and was awarded his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

He was ordained to the sacred priesthood in August 1984 and served as an Assistant Priest at St. Anthony’s, Woodhouse Park (1985-8), before becoming assistant chaplain at Fisher House to the University of Cambridge (1988-91).

He was appointed Chaplain to Arrowe Park Hospital, Wirral (1991-4) before doing further studies at Boston College, Ma. For twelve years, he was on the formation staff of St. Mary’s College, Oscott, the major seminary in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, where he was the College’s Dean of Studies and Professor of Fundamental Theology. He returned to Boston College as a post-doctoral research fellow of the Lonergan Institute in 2007, before being appointed Parish Priest of Our Lady and St. Christopher’s, Romiley, near Stockport in 2008.

In 2010 he was appointed Vicar General of the Diocese of Shrewsbury and in 2011 a Prelate of Honour to his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and in 2012 a Canon of Shrewsbury Cathedral.

Bishop Philip is frequently asked to speak at theological symposia and at catechetical gatherings and he has regularly contributed to religious journals and magazines. He has written about the thought of Newman and Lonergan and recently published Philosophy and Catholic Theology: A Primer (Collegeville, 2009).

This is, sadly, the last of this years Newman Lectures. We have been proud to again bring them to you.

“twitter-tweet”>

Our lovely @NewmanLectures team – Tvm @SiobhanHoffmann@deeksgeorge@mattmediauea@TBaragwanath@Katyy_s#newman2016pic.twitter.com/pq033ggOOo

— John Charmley (@ProfJCharmley) April 25, 2016

 

One of the things that always fascinates me about these lectures is that while they are mostly done by Catholic clergy, how appropriate they are for us all. Here for example, in telling us about how Vatican II effected the Church, he also tells us a deal about why the Catholic Church is becoming not like us conservative Protestants, exactly, but perhaps why it has become so much easier for us to work with Catholics on matters of the faith. And besides, for all of us, John says it well, here:

 

And so, we come to the end of another year’s worth of Newman Lectures, we hope you have enjoyed and profited as much from them as we have. I also want to add my thanks to the team that works so hard to put these on.

And especially thanks to Professor Charmley and Deacon Andrew, for making these possible.

If you wish to review any of these just click the tab on the top of the page that says, “Newman Lectures’ at any time.

As always, sponsored by:

Diocese of East Anglia

Camille Paglia

Camille Paglia, and the fiery planet of Mustafar, from "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith." (Credit: Michael Lionstar/Salon)

Camille Paglia, and the fiery planet of Mustafar, from “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.” (Credit: Michael Lionstar/Salon)

Ella Whelan recently interviewed Camille Paglia for Spiked. As always, a huge amount of common sense is on display.

But turn your brain to high, because there is several hours worth of information here, in a bit over a half hour. Her classes must be fascinating, and also very tiring, but never tiresome.

Her views on Feminism, Lena Dunham, and Hillary Clinton are worth your time, not even to start with campus culture, or lack thereof.

I don’t see how she get to where she goes with her politics, but her premises are almost always correct.

Enjoy!

The Changing Faces of the Papacy

This is a fascinating overview of the last 50 or so years of the Catholic church, not so much a lecture as an audio/visual memoir. While he doesn’t take anybody’s side in the controversies racking our churches, he gives a perspective on why things are as they are, one of the best talks I’ve heard anywhere. I think you’ll enjoy it, and profit from it.

His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor is a retired bishop and cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster and former President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. He was created a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in the 2001 Consistory.

The next, and last, lecture for this year will be Bishop Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth

Sponsored by:

Diocese of East AngliaUEA

%d bloggers like this: