Living Baby Dinosaur Found!

Idaho 6/16/2017: Scientists conducting wildlife research on the Snake River between Grand View and Bruneau stumbled upon a Baby Francosaurus, long considered from other fossil evidence as a distant cousin of the Stegosaurus.


“Unbelievable! I can’t wait to do some more research,” said Dr. Leeksy from the department of Cryptozooanthromorpharchaeology from Gem State Research University. Scientists from the department were universally agreed in their identification. “The tri-taloned green feet are better than a fingerprint,” said Dr. Piglet.


When pressed for more information, the team informed us that the green feet, alternating banded striations, and retractable cranial ridge-plates, undeniably distinguish the Francosaurus from other dinosaur species of the late Jurassic period.

Not long after media outlets reported the story, protestors showed up and demanded that the scientists leave the creature alone and conduct their research from a safe distance. Jane Laimbrayne, a spokeswoman for the group Dinosaur Lives Matter, said “…the Francosaurus must be protected in its natural habitat at all costs.” Volunteers from the group and scientists set up cameras and vigils to protect the Francosaurus from poachers. In a show of conservational solidarity, both groups chanted “We adore the Francosaur.”

Governor Bruce Udder misunderstood the significance of the discovery. The Governor mistakenly thought that Francosauruses were a new French ethnic political action group. “It’s been my pleasure to be acquainted with Francosauruses for most of my life. Even some of my best friends in college were Francosauruses. I am proud of their contribution to the diverse cultural fabric of our great state.” After the true nature of the Francosaurus was explained to him, and the need for extra funding for research, the governor ran away declined to comment further.

Every Time You Reply – The Francosaurus Doesn’t Cry



On Vikings, Italian Grandmothers, and Wooden Spoons

Recently, a historical mystery has sparked a debate on Facebook between Kristen Lamb (Indie Author guru and Viking Goddess) and me. Namely, who weaponized the wooden spoon? Was it the Vikings or the Italian grandmother? Both parties are famed in both song and story for their ability to transform any benign object within arm’s reach into a deadly weapon. I began a quest to find the answer.

First, I turned to several noteworthy historians who have presented us with Viking lore. Famed British chroniclers who write under the collective pen name Monty Python have expounded on a wide swath of human history in a series of films, from the Biblical Life of Brian, to the medieval quest for the Holy Grail, and even the rather post-modern philosophical epic The Meaning of Life.


Within the scope of their work, Monty Python has delved into the world of Nordic civilization, as evidenced by their presentation of Njorl’s Saga. Within this Icelandic Saga, there is no mention, either visual or vocal, of a wooden spoon. However, it does confirm the ability of Vikings to turn any benign object into a weapon. In part III of Njorl’s Saga , Eric Njorl, the son of Frothgar… is charged with using “the big brown table down at the police station,” in a deadly manner. While “the big brown table” may be wooden, it is certainly not a spoon.

There can be no doubt as to the historic veracity of this most scholarly endeavor.

Then I searched through the archives of Monty Python’s American counterparts – the Looney Toons. Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny have delved into prehistoric times through the medieval and modern eras as well. In one particular grand opus, “What’s Opera, Doc?” the duo performs Wagner’s four cycle opera Der Ring; there is no mention of a wooden spoon. Elmer’s aria concerning his spear and magic helmet – not spoons – should lay all notions of wooden spoons within a Viking context to rest.

Finally, I turned to the Beatles, who referenced the Nordic part of Europe with the song “Norwegian Wood.” Despite the fact that Viking influence is vast in the British Isles, the wood described in the song was thrown on the fire, and never fashioned into a spoon. In the end, in all of literature and film, I could not find a single reference to Vikings using wooden spoons as weapons.

What About Italian Grandmothers?

At a dead end with the Vikings, I turned to the other side of the question.


I only found modern references to Italian grandmothers and wooden spoons (and shoes, and rolling pins). But I believe there is an indisputable case of cultural appropriation stemming from Italy. Fuhgeddabowt the Men in Black, for Italians there are the Women in Black. This may be the root of the old joke: What’s the difference between an Italian grandmother and an elephant? About 25 pounds and a black dress. 🙂

Let me explain. In the old days, Italian women who did not wed most likely became nuns – women in black. From their roots in Italy, nuns and the convent culture have since spread throughout the world. Whether a nun is in France, Germany, Britain, the U.S., or South America, their prowess with using rulers as weapons is legendary. Survivors of Catholic education readily show their scars and even compete with each other concerning their number and intensity.

I find it highly probable that Italian grandmothers found the ruler to be so effective that they instituted similar punishment in their homes, using the closest thing they had on hand – the wooden spoon.


7 Easy Tips for Indie-Authors

I’ve noticed many memes or progress posts by indie-authors on Facebook and Twitter like “Wrote 2.5k today.” Of course, when such messages pop-up at around 10:30am, one has to wonder if the author’s blazing fingers melted the keyboard. Writing has to be done because we all understand the classic tidbit of wisdom that you can’t edit a blank page. However, some indie-authors should learn how to live life. Therefore, I’ve put together a small list to combat the typical bad habits that plague indie-authors. Hopefully, these tips will help the writing / editing process.

First: Open a window and breathe. That stuff you smell is called fresh air. Your body and brain needs oxygen, don’t deprive yourself.

Second: I’m sure there’s a place where you can order a couple of poached eggs and toast. Hotpockets, snickers bars, pizza rolls, and Twinkies* do not constitute a diet.

*I’ve discovered a widely held belief among indie-authors. Chocolate or fudge covered Twinkies are considered a healthier alternative to the standard Twinkie. Many authors believe the coating prevents bacteria or other micro-organisms from penetrating the cake and cream filling. 🙂 


Third: Once a day, or for once in your life. Please put down the coffee mug or shot glass and try a glass of water or juice. Man does not live by bread alone, nor should indie-authors live by caffeine alone.

Fourth: Take a break. Even prisoners on death row are given some time to roam outdoors. Time spent on social media like Facebook or Twitter is NOT considered break time. You’re still typing and reading!

Fifth: Socializing can be fun. Maybe we indie-authors should try it. Going to the coffee shop to have a critique session with other authors doesn’t count. Perhaps combine this one with a trip to the diner.

Sixth: Please give your cat(s) some play time. There is an indie-author / cat owner corollary. After all, you are their human and they need attention too. Remember, cat lives matter!

Seventh: Just look at the disarray on your writing desk. When do you plan on cleaning it? There is probably a better place for the piles of notes and craft books. If you’re a voracious reader, then you should have shelves or a bookcase somewhere?

I’m sure this list can be expanded. If you’ve got an idea drop a comment below. Also, are you guilty of any of the above habits? I know I am, just look at the photographic evidence of the Twinkie.  🙂

Every Time You Reply – “Little Frankie” Doesn’t Cryfrancesco25


The Power of a Baby

A baby can’t read, write, or speak. Can’t offer an opinion on anything, feed, clothe himself, or wipe his own butt. Yet, his presence can turn lives upside down, make family around the country send gifts, call constantly, and garner many likes on Facebook.


One has to face facts; our baby Prince possesses complete domestic control. He alone determines if we can go shopping or out for breakfast.

There are times when we feel like baby Francesco has ESP or some other psychic power. He always knows when we are trying to eat. Although I have varied our dinner time around his feeding/sleeping pattern, he seems to know what we’re doing. Moreover, it goes beyond dinner. He also can detect those times when mommy and daddy need some quiet cuddle time on the couch. Now a 90 minute movie takes three or four evenings to complete.

We have lost sleep, spent thousands of dollars, and I have exhausted myself doing renovations. Our little tyke wields more power than Darth Vader and General Patton combined.francesco25


However, his cute little smile makes everything worthwhile.




Minnie the Cat

Last month I told you all about Phoenix, our eldest kitty. Well, now I’m going to tell you about Minnie our black & white tuxedo.

Although we call her Minnie, her real name is Minerva. As you may recall, our cats’ names reflect a Harry Potter theme. She is so named for Minerva McGonagall.

Minnie was a stray that I picked up in San Antonio. I was helping out a sergeant in my wife’s squadron paint his living room and kitchen. Every time I went out for a smoke, I spotted this scrawny starving kitty. She would approach me and meow for food. My friend didn’t own a cat so I gave her some dry dog food.


Later that week I purchased some #cat food on the way to paint. Minnie was pleased to get some real cat yummies. The next day I brought a carrier with me and put the food inside. I captured Minnie and brought her to a veterinary clinic near my home. She got a clean bill of health and has been with us ever since.

Minnie is very playful and follows me from room to room. She is extremely jealous of other cats and quite vociferous. If I should mention Phoenix or Luna, Minnie will come running over. She does not like me doling out affection to another cat.

Odd as it may seem, I’ve learned to discern what she wants. Her usual requests are for petting, playing, and opening the blinds. However, a study was done concerning how cat owners do understand their kitties when they speak.

Do you understand cat chat? Do your kitties have a jealous streak?



Phoenix (The Wonder Cat)

As you can see, Phoenix is a tortoise shell #cat. My wife acquired her from a rescue shelter when we were living in San Antonio. She was seven then and now she has reached the ripe old age of fourteen.

Unfortunately, she was de-clawed while she was there. De-clawing is such a foul and despicable practice. She still likes to scratch her imaginary claws on carpet posts.


Phoenix is something of a princess. Her favorite pastime is sleeping on the couch. Of course she turns into a lap cat whenever my wife and I cuddle up on the couch. She is playful, but on her own terms. Phoenix only likes to play with me or my wife, as for other cats….fuhgeddabowdit! Like I said, she is too much of a princess to bother with other cats. I’m sure she regards them as commoners in her royal eyes.

Even when we have visitors, Phoenix will sit on the back of the couch without the slightest hint of curiosity. Naturally she expects guests to approach her throne and greet her formally.

Since she is affectionate, a newcomer can make friends instantly by brushing her or using a toy mouse on a string. I think she enjoys a grooming session more than most other kitties.

Lastly, there is the specialty of her name. All of our cats’ names have something to do with Harry Potter. So goes my wife’s influence on the household.

Got cats, dogs, or something else? Tell me about your pet(s).



R.I.P. Greg Lake

Way back in the 1970’s, I put my first album by Emerson Lake & Palmer (ELP) on a turntable and was summarily hooked. It wasn’t long before my collection grew, as did my taste for bands with unusually long songs considered unfit for top 40’s radio. Only late night FM DJ’s would occasionally risk playing such material.


Photo by Jean Luc and used under CC License

The amazing Bass and Guitar playing by Greg Lake will be missed. Of course along with musicianship came his ability to write timeless classics. Gone are the days when I used to play passages over and over from an album, trying desperately to copy those notes on my guitar.

Emerson, Lake, & Palmer’s self-titled first album was a brazen and loud announcement to the world that rock music had evolved into a higher realm. I remember teaching a music appreciation class back when I was still with the NYC Department of Education. Naturally the textbook assigned mostly dealt with classical, folk, and jazz music. However, the last chapter did make mention of notables from rock. Of course, Emerson Lake & Palmer warranted a few paragraphs.

There are many ELP songs and full albums on You Tube. If you’re not familiar with their music, have a listen and try to understand the depth of our collective loss. Remember ELP was one of those classic rock progressive bands that didn’t just make songs; they made albums. And those albums explored particular musical themes and subject matter.

Thank you, Greg Lake for all of your creative energy, which not only entertained, but also amazed. You were more than a musician, composer, and lyricist. You were a pioneer who transported your fans into other realms.

DO GO – LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW!  Tell me about your fond memories of Greg Lake.

P.S. I know all about Greg’s time and legacy with King Crimson as well. But for me, he’ll always be the “L” in ELP.

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My 50 Favorite Movies of the 00’s (Psst that’s 2000-2009)

Well fellow movie buffs, here ya go! This is the final installment of “My Favorite Films Listings,” until 2020 rolls around and I have another decade of film to make yet another list.

I’ve covered the 1930’s   1940’s   1950’s   1960’s   1970’s   1980’s  and 1990’s.

This list has more foreign films, and more women directors than any other movie list that I’ve compiled.

50.   The Chronicles of Narnia…d. Andrew Adamson (USA / UK)

49.   Hot Fuzz…d. Edgar Wright (UK)

48.   Bread and Tulips…d. Silvio Soldani (Italy)

47.   Bruce Almighty…d. Tom Shadyac

46.   Austin Powers in Goldmember…d. Jay Roach

45.   Avatar…d. James Cameron

44.   300…d. Zack Snyder

43.   Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind…d. Michael Gondry

42.   Donny Darko…d. Richard Kelly

41.   The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King…d. Peter Jackson (N.Z. / USA)


Public Domain Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Have you ever seen those you tube videos of an angry Hitler with the subtitles changed to seem like he’s talking about World of Warcraft or something? Well that clip is from #35 Downfall.

40.   American Psycho…d. Mary Harron

39.   Black Hawk Down…d. Ridley Scott

38.   Children of Men…d. Alfonso Cuarón (USA / UK / Japan)

37.   The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers…d. Peter Jackson (N.Z. / USA)

36.   Underworld…d. Len Wiseman

35.   Downfall…d. Oliver Hirschbiegel (Germany)

34.   Black Book…d. Paul Verhoeven (Netherlands / Ger. / UK / Belgium)

33.   Under the Tuscan Sun…d. Audrey Wells

32.   Hotel Rwanda…d. Terry George (UK / South Africa / Italy)

31.   Ella Enchanted…d. Tommy O’Haver

Not as many comedies as my other lists. I guess Mel Brooks really did retire.

 30.   Spy Game…d. Tony Scott

29.   13 Tzametti…d. Géla Babluani (France)

28.   Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones…d. George Lucas

27.   Little Miss Sunshine…d. Jonathon Dayton / Valerie Faris

26.   Á L’aventure…d. Jean-Claude Brisseau (France)

25.   Julie & Julia…d. Nora Ephron

24.   The Aviator…d. Martin Scorsese

23.   V for Vendetta…d. James McTeigue (USA / UK / Ger.)

22.   Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone…d. Chris Columbus (UK / USA)

21.   Open Range…d. Kevin Costner

Austin Powers is not the first time super spies like James Bond were spoofed. The “Flint” series from the 1960’s started that trend. Now the French have picked up on it with #11 OSS 117.

20.   Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon…d. Ang Lee (Taiwan)

19.   Enemy at the Gates…d. Jean-Jacques Annaud

18.   The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo…d. Niels Arden Oplev (Sweden / Denmark / Ger. / Norway)

17.   Pitch Black…d. David Twohy

16.   Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle…d. David Leiner

15.   The Prestige…d. Christopher Nolan

14.   The Gleaners and I…d. Agnès Varda (France)

13.   Love Actually…d. Richard Curtis (USA / UK / France)

12.   The Lives of Others…d. Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck (Germany)

11.   OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies…d. Michel Hazanavicius (France)

I’m sure there will be blood in the comments concerning my top ten.

10.   Pan’s Labyrinth…d. Guillermo Del Toro (Spain)

09.   There Will Be Blood…d. Paul Thomas Anderson

08.   Schultze Gets the Blues…d. Michael Schorr (Germany)

07.   Amélie…d. Jean-Pierre Jeunet (France)

06.   Bend It Like Beckham…d. Gurinder Chadha (UK)

05.   Flame and Citron…d. Ole Christian Madsen (Denmark)

04.   The Lord of the Rings:Fellowship of the Ring d. Peter Jackson (N Z/USA)

03.   Gangs of New York…d. Martin Scorsese

02.   Lost in Translation…d. Sofia Coppolla

01.   The Passion of the Christ…d. Mel Gibson


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A Message to Any and All of My #WordPress Followers / Readers

I follow back anyone who follows my blog. However, I noticed lately that many blogs that used to appear regularly on my WordPress Reader or others that send an email notification of a new post have been silent.

Out of curiosity, I checked the insights tab on my stats page. To my surprise, many blogs that I follow were now unchecked.

I don’t know how or why, because I certainly didn’t do that.

I’ve gone through the list and visited the blogs in question and checked the “Follow Tab” or re-subscribed. Granted about five blogs were defunct, but there were about 6 pages of active blogs off my radar.

Hopefully we’ll be hearing and seeing each other soon.

My 50 Favorite Movies of the 1930’s

Society had made definite changes from the orderly Victorian era. Urbanization and industrialization had forever changed cultures and the landscape. New subject matter was on the horizon. From the child serial killer in “M”, man hunting in “The Most Dangerous Game”, and societal commentary in “Dead End”, “The Public Enemy”, and “Scarface”. Probably the darkest views of civilization came in the form of “Modern Times”, “Stagecoach”, and “Freaks”.


Public Domain Image Courtesy of Pixabay

50.  The Most Dangerous Game…d. Irving Pichel, Ernest B. Schoedsack

49.  The Lady Vanishes…d. Alfred Hitchcock (UK)

48.  The Dawn Patrol…d. William Goulding

47.  Mr. Smith Goes to Washington…d. Frank Capra

46.  M…d. Fritz Lang (Germany)

45.  King Kong…d. Merian C. Cooper

44.  The Man Who Knew Too Much…d. Alfred Hitchcock (UK)

43.  A Day at the Races…d. Sam Wood

42.  La Grande Illusion…d. Jean Renoir (France)

41.  The Thin Man…d. W.S. Van Dyke

However, this was also the era of the “screwball comedy,” best exemplified by the presence of the Marx Brothers, Laurel & Hardy, and other classics of that comic genre. Cary Grant & The Marx Brothers have four mentions each. Both have films in the top ten.

40.  The Little Princess…d. Walter Lang

39.  Animal Crackers…d. Victor Heerman

38.  Dead End…d. William Wyler

37.  Beau Geste…d. William Wellman

36.  Horse Feathers…d. Norman Z. McLeod

35.  Monkey Business…d. Norman Z. McLeod

34.  The Crusades…d. Cecil B. DeMille

33.  The Kennel Murder Case…d. Michael Curtiz

32.  The Story of Louis Pasteur…d. William Dieterle

31.  Anthony Adverse…d. Mervyn LeRoy & Michael Curtiz

Here’s a few clips for you. The Mirror scene from #7 Duck SoupThe battle on Lake Chudskoye from #9 Alexander Nevsky featuring a score from Prokofiev… “Gooble gobble, one of us!” from #28 Freaks. 

30.  The Devil’s Brother…d. Hal Roach & Charley Rogers

29.  La Règle du Jeu…d. Jean Renoir (France)

28.  Freaks…d. Tod Browning

27.  Little Women…d. George Cukor

26.  Jamaica Inn…d. Alfred Hitchcock (UK)

25.  Modern Times…d. Charles Chaplin

24.  Scarface…d. Howard Hawks

23.  Only Angels Have Wings…d. Howard Hawks

22.  The Mummy…d. Karl Freund

21.  The Public Enemy…d. William Wellman

A dim view of the future emerges in “Things to Come”. Perhaps this ignoble view was the basis of “The Mummy”, “King Kong”, and “Frankenstein”.

20.  Frankenstein…d. James Whale

19.  A Night at the Opera…d. Sam Wood

18.  Young Mr. Lincoln…d. John Ford

17.  Things to Come…d. William Cameron Menzies (UK)

16.  The Awful Truth…d. Leo McCarey

15.  Babes in Toyland…d. Gus Meins & Charley Rogers

14.  Gunga Din…d. George Stevens

13.  The Adventures of Robin Hood…d. Michael Curtiz

12.  The Wizard of Oz…d. Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, King Vidor, Norman Taurog

11.  Gone With the Wind…d. George Cukor, Victor Fleming, Sam Wood

Captain Blood (#6) was a surprise blockbuster hit. The studio brought the crew together again, splurged on color film and made (#13) The Adventures of Robin Hood.

10.  Le Jour se Leve…d. Marcel Carné (France)

09.  Alexander Nevsky…d. Sergei Eisenstein (USSR)

08.  The Good Earth…d. Sydney Franklin

07.  Duck Soup…d. Leo McCarey

06.  Captain Blood…d. Michael Curtiz

05.  Bringing Up Baby…d. Howard Hawks

04.  The 39 Steps…d. Alfred Hitchcock (UK)

03.  The Four Feathers…d. Zoltan Korda (UK)

02.  Topper…d. Norman Z. McLeod

01.  Stagecoach…d. John Ford

Stagecoach gave form to the modern western. It set the genre standards until the formula was challenged by Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah in the 1960’s.

How do my picks compare to yours? Interested in seeing some of them now?

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Meleagrisphobia: Fear that Turkey!

Normally, I love turkey in all forms, from the deli counter to a whole bird roasting in an oven. I grew up with culinary master magicians, who could turn a bag of groceries into the most delectable Thanksgiving Dinner. You know what I mean, real mashed potatoes, stuffing from scratch, sweet potatoes, stuffed mushrooms, and so on. That was my former life.

These days, I’m forced to live with a new tradition. Thanksgiving means a day off from kitchen duty. No, we don’t go out to eat…I wish. It is because Thanksgiving is the one day of the year when my wife dons an apron and makes an attempt to cook a traditional dinner.


Public Domain Image Courtesy of Pixabay

My new holiday traditional dinner consists of Stove Top stuffing, instant mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce from a can, a boneless formed Turkey, canned yams, etc. I think you get the picture.

She can burn a pot of water!

The first time she cooked, I barely made it to the bathroom for a puking session reminiscent of a drinking binge which makes one “pray to the porcelain God.” At another time, I cut into a thick slice of turkey smothered with the perfect amount of gravy. I took that first succulent mouthful and almost spit it out. My darling-domestically-challenged-wife had accidentally purchased a Cajun spiced turkey.

Some things in the culinary world were made for each other like lamb and mint, hot dogs and mustard, bread and butter. So there we were with a horridly flavored hunk of turkey that had no mate on the table. Trust me, Cajun flavored turkey clashes with everything and anything on a traditional Thanksgiving table. Even that green bean casserole made with Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup didn’t stand a chance.

How can a grilled cheese sandwich have a bone in it?

Get ready, here comes Thanksgiving 2016! Yes that’s an exclamation point, and yes, I am excited.

This year, my wife has decided to go into training, like an Olympian going for the gold. She has developed a somewhat healthy curiosity about the culinary arts. She cuddled on the couch with me and watched a cooking show. Then, I caught her in the kitchen peeking inside the drawers. “Oh that’s where the spoons and forks come from.” Later, she browsed through the gadgets.

Another aspect of her rigorous training was an attempt at a meatloaf. She managed to transform two pounds of 93% lean ground range fed beef into an amorphous dark brown blob. The aroma wasn’t promising either. The most horrid moment came when I stuck a fork into the “meatloaf,” and I could swear it moved! Have you ever experienced that one?

I don’t think meatloaf is supposed to glow in the dark!

O.K. my initial excitement about Thanksgiving 2016 has dissipated back into dread. 😦

Tell me about your Thanksgiving Day. Doing anything special? Going someplace special? Got an unusual tradition?

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My Favorite Films of the 1940’s

All of my favorite movies by decade lists always have 50 titles. Normally that amount of titles is an easy task except this one. The 1940’s was such an inventive golden age of cinema that I could’ve easily done 100 titles.

There are classics and some guilty pleasures thrown in here. As for this list, collaborating directors Powel & Pressburger loom large with three in the top ten. Howard Hawks and John Ford each have three mentions as well.

I’m sure there are ardent film buffs that are going to go apoplectic over placing Citizen Kane at #2. Also, those same critics might go ape over my opting for “The Time of Their Lives” over “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein.” Most critics claim that the latter was their best work. However, I truly beg to differ. “The Time of Their Lives” is a much more comedic venue, with an interesting and creative story. For me, “The Time of Their Lives” represents Abbott & Costello at the top of their game.


Public Domain Image Courtesy of Pixabay

After WWII, some French film buffs noticed a darker world view and subject matter in American movies. They dubbed it “Film Noir.”

50. Sahara…d. Zoltan Korda

49. The Bells of St. Mary’s…d. Leo McCarey

48. Stray Dog…d. Akira Kurosawa

47. A Letter to Three Wives…d. Joseph L. Mankiewicz

46. And Then There Were None…d. René Clair

45. Going My Way…d. Leo McCarey

44. The Woman in Green…d. Roy William Neill

43. The Song of Bernadette…d. Henry King

42. Nightmare Alley…d. Edmund Goulding

41. Double Indemnity…d. Billy Wilder

There are quite a few films here for paranormal fans. The paranormal theme was used as a venue for horror, comedy, and drama.

40. The Grapes of Wrath…d. John Ford

39. My Darling Clementine…d. John Ford

38. Angel on My Shoulder…d. Archibald Louis Mayo

37. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon…d. John Ford

36. On the Town…d. Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly

35. I Was a Male War Bride…d. Howard Hawks

34. Sergeant York…d. Howard Hawks

33. My Favorite Wife…d. Garson Kanin

32. I Married a Witch…d. René Clair

31. The Keys of the Kingdom…d. John M. Stahl

It was the decade of World War II, and therefore, war movies were a staple. Some of these films sum up the attitude, resolve, and plight of the greatest generation. The recreation of the raising of the flag in Sands of Iwo Jima stands as a great cinematic moment.

30. Topper Returns…d. Roy Del Ruth

29. Casablanca…d. Michael Curtiz

28. It’s a Wonderful Life…d. Frank Capra

27. Passport to Pimlico…d. Henry Cornelius (UK)

26. Sullivan’s Travels…d. Preston Sturges

25. Anchors Aweigh…d. George Sidney

24. Roma: Città Apertà…d. Roberto Rossellini (Italy)

23. His Girl Friday…d. Howard Hawks

22. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre…d. John Huston

21. The Best Years of Our Lives…d. William Wyler

Italian directors took their cameras into the streets and created what the French called “Cinéma Verité.” This style of bare-bones filmmaking would later become the standard for The French New Wave of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

20. The Time of Their Lives…d. Charles Barton

19. Laura…d. Otto Preminger

18. Miracle on 34th Street…d. George Seaton

17. The Uninvited…d. Lewis Allen

16. Twelve O’clock High…d. Henry King

Be sure to see my other listing of my favorite films from the 1950s 1960s  1970s  1980s  1990s

15. The Fountainhead…d. King Vidor

14. Sands of Iwo Jima…d. Allan Dwan

13. Santa Fe Trail…d. Michael Curtiz

12. Kind Hearts and Coronets…d. Robert Hamer

11. The Angel and the Bad Man…d. James Edward Grant

If the 1940’s belongs to any single actor, then this list grants that award to Cary Grant. Six of his films made it onto this list with three in the top ten.

10. Fantasia…d. Walt Disney & many others

09. I Ladroni della Bicicletta…d. Vittorio De Sica (Italy)

08. Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House…d. H.C. Potter

07. The Bishop’s Wife…d. Henry Koster

06. Arsenic and Old Lace…d. Frank Capra

05. The Shop Around the Corner…d. Ernst Lubitsch

04. Black Narcissus…d. Powell & Pressburger (UK)

03. The Red Shoes…d. Powell & Pressburger (UK)

02. Citizen Kane…d. Orson Welles

01. A Matter of Life and Death…d. Powell & Pressburger (UK)   a.k.a. Stairway to Heaven (U.S. Title)

I remember back in the 1970’s, “A Matter of Life and Death” was advertised and listed as “Stairway to Heaven” when it played on TV. Currently, my DVD carries the original British title, and a recent showing on Turner Classic Movies did the same. However, on IMDB’s top box office list, they still use the U.S. title.

How does my list stack up against yours? Have you seen all of these movies? Are you interested in seeing some of them?

Not shy? Then leave a reply!

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My Favorite Films of the 1950’s

O.K. Movie Buffs, here’s a list of my favorite movies from the 1950’s. Now I’m sure that some of you are going to say, “You’ve got to be kidding me?” for a few selections. But, although there are some cheesy sci-fi flicks listed, they are part of my favorites, the ones that I like to curl up with on a lonely night or rainy day.


Public Domain Image courtesy of Pixabay

One listing has its controversy. There was a bit of a burning question in Cinema Studies during the 80’s and 90’s. Who really directed “The Thing”? IMDB currently lists Christian Nyby and Howard Hawks (uncredited) as co-directors, so I guess the mystery has been settled. By the way, this film has some of the best dialog ever written for the silver screen.

I still believe that it was Howard Hawks. He had a somewhat legendary status by 1950, and he probably didn’t want an association with a Sci-Fi film. The story was incredibly original and the film looks, tastes, feels, and smells like his fingerprints are all over it. I also once recommended this film for authors who want to write better dialog.

50. Earth vs. the Flying Saucers…d. Fred F. Sears

49. Umberto D…d. Vittorio De Sica (Italy)

48. Sunset Boulevard…d. Billy Wilder

47. Rashomon…d. Akira Kurosawa (Japan)

46. Paths of Glory…d.Stanley Kubrick

45. Witness for the Prosecution…d. Billy Wilder

44. Showboat…d. George Sidney

43. Le Journal d’un Curé de Campagne…d. Robert Bresson (France)

42. Pickpocket…d. Robert Bresson (France)

41. Sanjiro Sugata…d. Akira Kurosawa (Japan)

40. The Seven Samurai…d. Akira Kurosawa (Japan)

39. A Face in the Crowd…d. Elia Kazan

38. Mr. Roberts…d. John Ford / Mervyn LeRoy

37. North by Northwest…d. Alfred Hitchcock

36. Rear Window…d. Alfred Hitchcock

35. Bob Le Flambeur…d. Jen-Pierre Melville (France)

34. The Man in the White Suit…d. Alexander Mackendrick (UK)

33. I’m Alright Jack…d. John Boulting (UK)

32. Them!…d. Gordon Douglas

31. House on Haunted Hill…d. Robb White

30. The Caine Mutiny…d. Edward Dmytryk

29. Rear Window…d. Alfred Hitchcock

28. From Here to Eternity…d. Fred Zinneman

27. The Quiet Man…d. John Ford

26. The Day the Earth Stood Still…d. Robert Wise

25. The Captain’s Paradise…d. Antony Kimmins (UK)

24. The Rose Tattoo…d. Daniel Mann

23. High Noon…d. Fred Zinneman

22. 12 Angry Men…d. Sidney Lumet

21. Singing in the Rain…d. Stanley Donen / Gene Kelly

20. Written on the Wind…d. Douglas Sirk

19. Touch of Evil…d. Orson Welles

18. The Seventh Seal…d. Ingmar Bergman (Sweden)

17. Throne of Blood…d. Akira Kurosawa (Japan)

16. Creature from the Black Lagoon…d. Jack Arnold

15. Les Diaboliques…d. Henri-Georges Clouzot (France)

14. Invasion of the Body Snatchers…d. Don Siegel

13. All About Eve…d. Joseph L. Mankiewicz

12. Ikiru…d. Akira Kurosawa (Japan)

11. Forbidden Planet…d. Fred M. Wilcox

10. Les Quatre-Cent Coups…d. Francois Truffaut (France)

09. A Christmas Carol…d. Brian Desmond Hurst (UK)

08. Les Jeux Interdits…d. René Clément (France)

07. Hiroshima Mon Amour…d. Alain Resnais (France)

06. The Wages of Fear…d. Henri-Georges Clouzot (France)

05. Stalag 17…d. Billy Wilder

04. The Searchers…d. John Ford

03. The Thing From Another World…d. Christian Nyby / Howard Hawks (uncredited)

02. Ben-Hur…d. William Wyler

01. The Ten Commandments…d. Cecil B De Mille

Check out my other lists of favorite movies from the  1960’s  1970’s  1980’s  1990’s 


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Hillary Clinton’s Contempt and Hatred for Americans

I find the silence hard to believe. Wikileaks just released a heap of emails with damning information about the Clinton campaign. This should be the headline of every major newspaper and the lead story for every cable television news outlet.  However, the “lamestream” media won’t touch it. Except, of course, some commentators on Fox News.

You can bet every penny that if Donald Trump or someone within his campaign leadership said these things, it would be broadcast everywhere. Even a group of pygmies living on an island in the South Pacific would know about it.

In the past, Hillary has called…

…Trump’s supporters “deplorable and irredeemable.”

….Bernie Sander’s supporters “basement dwellers.”

…young black men “super predators.”

…Paul Fray a “f*cking Jew Bastard.”


Public Domain Image

And now, Wikileaks reveals that #HillaryClinton and her team have passed emails back and forth in which they call Catholics “backwards,” and Catholicism a “bastardization of the faith.”

I have written other blog posts concerning the hatred and contempt that others have for Catholics and Catholicism. However, those instances of Anti-Catholicism on social media were made by misinformed nobodies on the Internet. Yes, the lies they perpetrate get under my skin, but those bigots have no power over me and are in no position to affect my life and liberty.

Now the situation has completely changed. Hillary Clinton, the person seeking the highest office of the land, and many within her sphere of influence, are espousing the same bigoted attitude as Anti-Catholic internet trolls. If elected, Hillary will have the power to write executive orders, pass laws, and direct official policy of the United States.

Let’s add the fact that she once said in a prepared speech that “…religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.” Within those leaked emails, organizations such as “Catholics United” and “Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good” are revealed as left-wing liberal sub-organizations created for the sole express purpose of starting a revolt from within the Church.

A clear picture begins to emerge. Never before has there been an arm of the government singling out and targeting the Church. Why now? It’s simply because the Catholic Church is standing in the Democrats’ way, preventing them from creating a Left-Wing-Liberal-Fascist-Secular dystopia.

Just a few weeks ago, a documentary called “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” premiered. It demonstrated how community organizing groups based upon Saul Alinsky’s pro-government-dependency principles penetrated the Church in Chicago. By the way, President Obama is an Alinsky Community Organizer from Chicago, too. His administration has been involved with 56 lawsuits against the Catholic Church. Also, Hillary Clinton’s graduate thesis extolled the praises of the book “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky. Just FYI, the author had dedicated the book to Lucifer.

In case you’re not Catholic, those uncovered emails showed an equally low opinion of Evangelical Protestants as well.

Considering the long list of different Americans (I haven’t touched on all of them, for the sake of brevity) that Clinton and her entourage despise, and considering the fact that almost no major news outlets are talking about it, something comes to mind. The 1948 speech by Alfred Niemoller, concerning apathy among Germans as group after group was targeted by the government in Nazi Germany.

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Even if you’re not listed among one of Hillary Clinton’s hated groups, go read the Niemoller speech and rue the day when you have to repeat the last line “…and then Hillary came after me.”


Trump: “Because You’d be in Jail.”

I keep seeing many postings on Facebook and Twitter concerning this retort by Donald Trump during the 2nd Presidential Debate. The on-line “chatter” concerns the scary premise that if elected to the Presidency, the evil Donald Trump will exact justice against political opponents by tossing them en masse into jail like a third world dictator.

Anyone espousing such a ridiculous interpretation is either a fork-tongued devil or a blithering idiot.

As of today, as I write these words, we already have a third world, corrupt Justice System. The FBI, DOJ, and IRS are supposed to be free and independent of politics. However, after seven years of the Obama administration, they have become corrupt servants of the Washington insider ruling elite class. Donald Trump didn’t create this situation, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton did.

Anyone who saw the FBI news conference by James Comey knows that the DOJ should have indicted Hillary Clinton. The evidence then was overwhelming and subsequent leaks have dramatically revealed more of the underhanded and foul deeds of the U.S. State Department during Clinton’s tenure.


Donald Trump By Gage Skidmore used under CC License

A few days before the news conference, Bill Clinton had a clandestine meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch. We’ll never know what was said during that time. However, it is plainly obvious that some type of deal was struck.

Now you know the backstory. Let’s return to the original quote: “Because you’d be in jail.” Notice that in the context of the debate, he is talking just to Hillary, a plainly guilty person. What he’s really saying is, “If I were President, your guilty ass would be in jail. Because a Justice system under my administration wouldn’t let the guilty go free simply because they have friends in high places.” Most right-thinking Americans would agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment.

However, some are using social media to loosely interpret the quote as “When I’m President, I’m going to toss you in jail whether you’re guilty or not, simply because I don’t like you.” Of course, the only two reasons for spreading such a misleading interpretation are 1) The poster is a blithering idiot who doesn’t understand the complexities and subtleties of the English language. 2) The poster understands the true meaning but takes the opportunity to twist words around intentionally like a fork-tongued devil.

Sorry, I know I don’t usually rant over these political nonsense games. However, obfuscating the obvious really gets under my skin.Therefore, the next time you see someone playing this game, send them over here for an education.

Get Ready For NaNoWriMo 2016

I’m really fired up for this one and can’t wait to get started. My first fantasy novel, Tales of Tyrennia Book I: An Easterly Sojourn is still in the editing stage. However that hasn’t stopped me from working on book II of the series. The working title is The Frozen War. Within these pages, I’m delving into the Dwarven Kingdoms of the north.

I’m about 65 pages into The Frozen War, and I would really like to do some open field running. In the weeks preceding #NaNoWriMo, I’m going to review the new novel in order to bring myself back up to speed.

Next there is my writing space. As some of you know, my wife and I are expecting. Therefore, many renovations have been going on. One of the changes was to convert our office into a guest room. We moved our computers and bookcases into some “dead space” in our entry hall. At first it felt strange, but in the past few weeks, I’ve become accustomed to my new writing area.


Got my guitars, album covers, stereo, and books around me

Our computer desks didn’t fit, or look right, in the new space. We purchased two new identical desks. The black frames and the glass tops look great. Except, our glass desk tops are now covered in paw prints from the cats. 🙂

Also, there will be many NaNo functions in town and Boise. It is always good to meet up with my fellow-travelers, have a snack, some coffee (mandatory), and let our fingers do the walking on the keyboards.

What are you working on for NaNoWriMo 2016? A new novel? Restarting an older idea?


The “Unfriend” Trend

Liberals are loud and proud. They write insulting memes and posts all over their Twitter and Facebook accounts. They do this with an air of haughty self-righteousness. And of course, they’re the self-proclaimed guardians of tolerance and justice. Perhaps they should give tolerance a try some time.

Whenever I chance a view at Facebook or Twitter, I (and all other conservatarians) have to suffer the slings and arrows of Liberally misguided thoughts, insults, and memes, based upon their collective cognitive dissonance and a general lack of information.

Do I suddenly “unfriend” or “unfollow” them? No.

Do I scream back at them in all caps? No.

Do I use foul language? No.

Yet, on the only two occurrences when I did respond, I was “unfriended” faster than Hillary can make up another lie about her emails.

The First Incident: A dyed-in-the–wool Liberal made an FaceBook post where he equated The Priesthood with pedophilia. There was no name-calling, no caps, no foul language. I merely pointed out my research with links. Boom! Unfriended.

The Second Incident: A guy who plasters Facebook with pro-Hillary and Anti-Trump posts all the time decided to get personal. He corrected Hillary’s #BasketofDeplorables comment by stating that she should have said ALL (his caps not mine) and not half. Of course his fellow Libs chimed in with disgusting broad-stroke statements as well. My reply was as follows…”Is this what you truly think of me?” Boom! Unfriended faster than a Kool-Aid slurping Hillary minion can make up a false tweet about Trump.

Tell me about your “unfriending” or “unfollow” experiences.


The Power of a Single Word

As a Conservative/Libertarian, I usually aggravate many people because my desire for level-playing-fields. Now here’s one concerning an issue that I can no longer ignore. I must insist upon voicing my proverbial two-cents.

I see the word “Mafia” thrown around a lot. My basic question is why must the Italian word be used? Of course the true expression is “Organized Crime.” It existed within the borders of the U.S. long before Italian immigration, and around the world.

However, in the hyper-sensitive-garbled-disjointed-asinine-workings of the Politically Correct Mind, they refuse to see their hypocrisy and ridiculousness, when they say things like…Chinese Mafia, Russian Mafia, Jewish Mafia, Mexican Mafia…and so on. Yes, I’ve seen and heard them use such terms many times. They also don’t care about such expressions as “spaghetti western,” but that is the subject for another post. I have touched on this subject in a previous post entitled Why I’m Not A Liberal.

I just saw a Facebook Post concerning the “Book Review Mafia.” I throw my hands up and look to the heavens in disbelief.

In the spirit of fairness and equity

I’m going to create a verbal level-playing-field. I will use the Arabic words (as best as I can transliterate) Irhabi (Terrorist), Irhabin (Terrorists), and Irhab (Terrorism) from now on. Of course the politically correct and tolerant Liberals will have a collective case of apoplexy and start screaming terrible rants in my direction. Quite frankly, I couldn’t care less.

Of course I will even use the Arabic to describe those Irhabin organizations from parts of the world that have nothing to do with Islamic or Arabic society or culture. Do I sound ridiculous? Well, referring to the IRA as an Irish Irhab Organization is no more nonsensical than saying “Chinese Mafia.”

Naturally, a level-playing-field and fairness are the last things the PC police want or care about. I voiced my objection many times as to their lack of sensitivity only to be rebuffed. The PC police simply do not care. Therefore, I no longer care about how many PC automatons turn plaid in anger, stomp their feet, and throw hissy fit tantrums.

You know you’ve done it too

I know some of the most decent, caring, and well-intentioned people have committed the errors that I’ve stated above. Don’t worry; I don’t think less of you. I’ve just become too accustomed to it over the years. However, if this post makes one person stop and think, then my job has been well done.

Have you ever casually thrown the word “Mafia” around?

Not just ‘Deplorable’ But Also ‘Irredeemable’

As you may already know, Hillary Clinton made a comment, calling 50% of Donald Trump’s supporters ‘Deplorable.’ However, that’s only 50% of the story. She also mentioned that those ‘Deplorable’ individuals are also ‘Irredeemable.’

It is utterly amazing that the media has overlooked that last part of her speech. Why amazing? Because the ‘irredeemable’ comment is worse – a lot worse.


Public Domain Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Referring to people as ‘irredeemable’ is a veritable slap in the face to the Theological and Doctrinal teachings of any and all Christian denominations. Whether you are Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant, Mrs. Clinton has professed an offensive belief that stands in complete opposition to the teachings of your respective Churches. A more honest and straight-forward version of her comment would go something like this…

“Your belief in the redemptive power of God is complete bullshit!” Imagine the media firestorm that would combust if Donald Trump said something like that.

With her comment, did she not also offend Jewish people with respect to Yom Kippur? Or Muslims as to The Hajj? I am not well-versed in those Theologies, but I believe that both concern renewal, forgiveness, and redemption of the soul.

On account of my Catholicism, I have to suffer a few slings and arrows on a daily basis. Those arrows can get under my skin sometimes. However, hearing misguided bigotry from a “John Q” on Google+ or Facebook, is a far cry from installing someone who professes such beliefs into the Oval Office.

Also, how much worse is the ‘Irredeemable’statement, because Hillary Clinton delivered it from within a rehearsed and carefully crafted speech?

The Crazy Kaepernick Conundrum

Most people have a position on this issue, and it is usually wrong, or should I say half-right? The issue is of course how do you feel about San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin #Kaepernick kneeling during the National Anthem as a sign of protest concerning police treatment of African-Americans.

Some say that he has every right to kneel during the National Anthem. Um… right but also wrong.

Others say that he shouldn’t ever protest against the Anthem in such a way. Um…wrong but also right.

The issue is not whether or not he has the right to protest. The U.S. Constitution is clear on that matter. However, the problem is based upon the “when” and the “where” of his protest.

There are many other legal activities other than staging a protest. For instance, if you’re over 21 years of age and have a valid form of identification, you can walk into a bar and order a beer. However, you can’t do that on the job. Imagine some sanitation workers pick up some trash and then walk into a bar for a few minutes before returning to work. What would happen if some cops or firemen did the same thing?

So yes, Colin Kaepernick has every right to protest. However, if he tried to stage a protest rally on my front lawn, I’d tell him to go somewhere else. He should do it at his own house, in front of city hall, in a public park, in front of The White House, or on any street corner. However, he should not be doing it on the job, which of course means on somebody else’s property, while wearing a uniform and brand name logo, and in front of a paying audience.

That’s right. The people in attendance paid to get in. They paid to see a football game, not watch a media-hyped protest by a second-stringer desperately seeking attention.

In the end, I blame the San Francisco 49ers. As his employer, as the owner of the property, as the owner of the brand name franchise, and the uniform which he wears, they should’ve told him to stay in the locker room.

Can you do this on your job? Can he do this on your property?