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Weekly Columns!

All your favorite weekly columns and letters to the editor- online!

 Editor's Notebook, by Bill Blauvelt A Different Slant, by Chuck Mittan Country Roads, by Gloria Garman-Schlaefli

Editor's Notebook, by Bill Blauvelt
I traditionally find it hard to find time in December to send Christmas cards and letters but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy receiving them. I prefer the cards that include letters and pictures. If she had had her way, my mother would have never thrown away her Christmas mail for years later she enjoyed re-reading the cards and letters and looking at the pictures. And I got the habit from her. As a youngster I enjoyed reading her letters each year from people I had never met. After regularly reading their letters I counted them as friends and enjoyed opportunities to meet them.
Most of my parents' friends are now deceased but after I started publishing this newspaper some subscribed even though they had never lived in Superior. I'm not sure why they subscribed but I like to think they subscribed so they could read the editor's column, look at the pictures the editor took and read the stories the editor wrote. I imagined I could hear them say "That was done by Doris and Bussie's little boy (my parents were known by their friends as Doris and Bussie).
This week I received a beautiful card which included a picture of a dog and two cats sleeping together with the wish "May all your Christmas Dreams come true!" The card was published by the Salesian Missions group of New Rochelle, N.Y. At first glance I thought it was addressed to Bill and Rita Blauvelt. That was all appropriate but stay with me for the rest of the story.
The card was signed by the Blauvelts.
And that made the card a puzzle. Death has claimed all of the Blauvelts who previously sent us Christmas cards.
While I can't without doubt say the card was not written by a Blauvelt because I have been known when in a hurry to incorrectly spell my own last name, I find it strange that a Blauvelt would incorrectly spell the Blauvelt name twice on the same card. A close reading of the card and the signature reveals both times an "l" was left out to spell the editor's name as Blauvet.
I checked the post mark to see where the card was sent from. That didn't do any good for the postmark is not legible. There's a black smudge on the envelope near where the Forever stamp was placed but it gives no hint as the place of origin. The smudge didn't even leave a mark on the stamp.
I haven't done so yet, but I plan to compare the handwriting with the handwriting on the cards and letters received last year. Hopefully, that will tell me who may have sent this year's greeting.
It's always possible the card was sent as part of a marketing scheme promoted by Salesian Mission. In closely examining the card for clues to the sender's origin, I found the mailing address, telephone number and website address. Perhaps the sender hoped I would like the card so much that I would call the mission and order a supply for my own use.
It's unlikely that I do that. Since last Christmas, we have been assembling potential Christmas letter pictures and earlier this week the process of writing a Christmas letter was started in Editor Blauvelt's house. When the letter is composed and the pictures picked out, the plan is to print the letter here in Superior. It's too early to know if the letter will be mailed before or after Christmas.
If it's after Christmas, I'll just tell the recipients it was purposely mailed late so they would have time after the Christmas rush to carefully read and consider its meaning.
At this time of year I feel much like the woman who was quoted in a paper published 80 years ago as having said, "I would enjoy Christmas more if it didn't come at such a busy time. I wish it didn't always come during the holiday season."


A Different Slant, by Chuck Mittan

In the decade between the early 1950s and early 1960s, literally hundreds of low-budget, "B" horror and science fiction movies were produced. It was this genre of film that ushered in and embraced 3-D motion picture technology. Years later, when these films were becoming dated and inexpensive to get screening rights to, they became a staple of drive-in quadruple features and late night "Creature Feature" style television programming. That's when I both discovered and became quite fond of them. My favorites growing up were "Attack of the 50-Foot Woman" (1958) and "The Incredible Shrinking Man" (1957), though I saw many others multiple times.
A few years ago, I met a director from Louisiana who made a short film called "The Incident of the Giant, Ammonia-Breathing Space Crabs," which was meant to be an homage to those films. I liked his film because he captured the essence of those films perfectly and I could tell he liked the genre as much as I did. He has since written and directed a feature-length film called "The Molers: Searching for the Mole People," which I haven't seen but think is a "mockumentary."
Coincidentally, about a week ago, I was asked by another director friend to write a short script for him in the style of those low-budget, black and white science fiction films I like. Though I had seen many of them, he recommended two films for me to watch. The first was "Robot Monster" (1953), which represented the style and quality he hopes to emulate in his film. The second was "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra" (2004), which turned out to be a hilarious spoof of those old movies, and he wanted me to watch that one to get a feel for the kind of humor he's looking for. That film was made for around $40,000 and was so well-received that it earned more than $2 million in the decade that followed.
The name of our short script, which I began outlining only a few days ago, is "Return of the Robo-Mummy from Outer Space, Part 7." We believe piling monster theme on top of monster theme will offer countless comedic opportunities. So, we know he's a robot, and a mummy, and he's from outer space, and he's been here before. At least six times, apparently.

Country Roads, by Gloria Garman-Schlaefli

In remembering the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, there have been many stories on social media and in news reports. One showed a 104 year old veteran who was there and witnessed the attack. For years this man has been returning to Pearl Harbor to honor those who died in the surprise attack. Another reporter interviewed a 91 year old veteran who shared his memories of that fateful day, and he too was returning to pay respect to his fallen comrades. That story ended with a disturbing thought: When all the veterans who lived through the attack are no longer here to tell their stories, will the terrible attack be remembered?
In 1940-41, America was divided on whether or not to enter the war in Europe, but on Dec. 7, 1941, the question was certainly answered. It was on an early Sunday morning and most of the soldiers stationed at a large naval base at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Territory were off duty. Out of the skies came a surprise attack. The Japanese first wave consisted of 200 torpedo, bombers and fighter planes that zeroed in on the mostly anchored navel fleet. Most of the damage was done within the first 30 minutes. The American loss was massive. It completely destroyed the battleship, U.S.S. Arizona, and capsized another, the U.S.S. Oklahoma. It sank or beached a total of 12 ships and damaged nine others. 160 American aircraft were destroyed and 150 more were damaged. 2,300 American lives were lost in the bombing. The attack took America completely by surprise.
Pres. Franklin Roosevelt gave his famous announcement the following day, and the first few words of his announcement rallied America into action: "December 7th, 1941, a date that will live in infamy." Roosevelt urged action and on Dec. 9 Congress declared war on the Empire of Japan, and two days later Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy declared war on America.
America did rally and the young men, sparked by patriotism and a willingness to protect family and country, jammed the military recruiting offices all across the U.S. Within the first few weeks, the recruiting offices remained open 24 hours a day, seven days a week signing up volunteers. Most of these young men were fresh out of high school and some were even in the middle of their high school years. Those young men and women volunteers made the response to serve their country to the rally cry of "Remember Pearl Harbor!" All men between the ages of 18 and 65 were required to register, and some WWI veterans even offered their services, though most were told they were too old and had already done their duty. By the end of the war, there were more than 16 million men and women enlisted in the American armed forces, more than 12 percent of the total population.
Thank goodness the Greatest Generation answered the call to serve and protect, and they won. Let us never forget what all they gave. We need to keep the younger generation informed of the great sacrifices to keep this country free. America must be prepared and keep the watch. Let us hope that Dec. 7, 1941, in President Roosevelt's words, be a date that will always "live in infamy!"