A Hard Earned Freedom


“Israeli Bunkers“, Jersualem, Israel. Camera pointer: Galen C. Dalrymple, 2016.

One of the things that strikes you about Israel is how hard they have had to work to remain a nation. I don’t want to get into politics and I realize that there are probably readers who are not fans of Israel. That’s not the point of this post or this blog. I’m just sharing pictures of what I see and find interesting…and to tell you stories about them that might be of interest. Since my most recent trip was to Israel, right now, things that I saw there are the subject of my current posts.

Israel has been engaged in numerous wars with their neighboring countries. One of the most critical was in 1967 when Israel was on the brink of destruction. The prime minister at the time, Golda Meir, had made many overtures to the surrounding countries and believed that she’d made a lot of progress. So much progress, as a matter of fact, that despite warnings from the Israeli intelligence and military, she didn’t believe that the neighboring countries would attack. But they did. And they caught the Israelis totally unprepared…a mistake that nearly cost them their country.

Today’s photo was taken on a ridge in Jerusalem. It is a shot of a bunker system that the Israeli’s occupied during the 1967 war. In the background, you can see trees. The Egyptian army was in the line of trees as the battle raged on this very spot. This was in Jerusalem…and it was shocking to me to realize how far into Israel the Egyptian army was located. 

Try picturing that happening in Washington, DC, or anywhere else in America, for that matter. It sends shivers up and down my spine.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1998, Hilary Swank (an incredible actress in my opinion, and one of my favorites!) made her final appearance in a multi-episode arc on the Fox prime-time soap opera Beverly Hills, 90210. Barely two years later, in a somewhat unexpected turn of events, Swank would be standing onstage at the Academy Awards to accept the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance inBoys Don’t Cry.

Born in Nebraska on July 30, 1974, Swank grew up mostly in Bellingham, Washington. She performed in school plays and was a talented athlete, swimming in the Junior Olympics and competing in gymnastics. After her parents separated, Swank’s mother Judy moved with her daughter to Los Angeles to support Hilary’s desire to become an actress. After arriving in L.A., mother and daughter lived out of their car for a couple of weeks until Judy was able to save enough money to rent an apartment.

In 1992, Swank made her film debut in a bit role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Two years later, she landed the title role in The Next Karate Kid (1994), the fourth and final movie in the Karate Kid series. Playing a troubled teenager who learns karate from Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), Swank was a replacement for Ralph Macchio (then 32 years old), who had starred in the first three films. The film was received poorly by critics and earned only $8.9 million at the box office–by far the least money of all the Karate Kid movies.

Swank joined the cast of Beverly Hills, 90210 for the beginning of the show’s eighth season, when its popularity was waning (it was canceled in early 2000 after ten seasons). The show’s central characters had graduated from college and were embarking on their first jobs and other challenges of adulthood. Swank played Carly Reynolds, a single mom who gets involved with Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering) and works as a waitress at the gang’s hangout, the Peach Pit. After 16 episodes, Swank was dropped from the series.

In a 2005 interview with Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes (shortly before she took home her second Best Actress Oscar, for her role as a female boxer in Clint Eastwood’sMillion Dollar Baby) Swank was candid about how the firing affected her confidence: “I thought if I’m not a good enough actor for 90210, then maybe I should [pack it in]….I was devastated.”

It turned out to be a stroke of luck, however, as the out-of- work Swank was able to audition for and win the lead role in the independent film Boys Don’t Cry (1999), directed by Kimberly Peirce and based on the tragic real-life story of Brandon Teena, a young transgender man in small-town Nebraska who was raped and murdered by his male acquaintances after they discovered his secret. Swank was paid just $75 per week–a total of $3,000–for Boys Don’t Cry, but it would make her career. She won a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Actress and was catapulted onto the Hollywood A-list, leaving the days of prime-time soap operas well behind her.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: In studies done at Anderson Labs, international experts report that mice have dropped dead after breathing some new carpet fumes.


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