October 14, 2019 (Canadian Thanksgiving Day)

El Camino is a newly released story on Netflix that is continuing on (and a re-telling) of the Jesse Pinkman story with Breaking Bad.  Aaron Paul returns to play Jesse, along with a cast of many other familiar characters from the original series.   Mike, Skinny Pete, Badger and others are all part of this.  Some cameos from well known other characters are used in flashback.   I guess it was inevitable with the success of Breaking Bad that something would be created.   It was good to see some familiar characters.   Vince Gilligan, the original creator, writer and director creates this new story.   It jumps around a fair bit, and you see Jesse in various times, and you mostly tell which time he is in by his haircut and clothes.   In short Jesse was kept in a cage for cooking purposes and managed to get free.  He is trying to find another path for his life to go.   In some ways his former life keeps creeping back in and he needs to use the skills he has acquired since meeting Walter White.   While I don’t find this on the same level as Breaking Bad, I did enjoy it.   The original series had many cliffhanging moments, and this movie manages to create a few tense moments.   If you liked the original series, then this is a decent place to spend some time.

We Stand Alone Together:  Earlier in the week, I watched a 2001 documentary which tells (once again) the story of the 101st Airborne, Easy Company from WWII.   The story is the same as in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers.   Actually the real veterans, as portrayed by various actors in the series, are the storytellers in this documentary and their aren’t any actors.   Easy Company was a well known and respected company who has earned their stripes in every battle where they have been involved.  D-Day at Normandy, to Battle of the Bulge, and onto taking The Eagle’s Nest and uncovering Holocaust atrocities.   The stories that these men recount are incredible.  They, to a man, do not regard themselves as “heroes”.  To them, those who died in the battles are the heroes.   Major Winters would say, “…I wasn’t a hero in the war, but I fought in a Company of them.”   Very true, this coming from a real hero from the war who saved countless lives, and was an excellent leader to his men.  For me, the stories need to be remembered and recounted.   It is always more impactful to me when I see grown men cry talking about their buddies, and how they through sheer luck in many cases survived all the battles that they were in.   Likely that is a source of endless nightmares and questioning for them.   Real stories of course are better than well-told stories from Hollywood.     I will also note that the American participation in the war was late in arriving on the European front.   Britain, and her allies kept the possibility open for an Allied victory.

A related story that is on Crave these days is called Pearl Harbor: The Accused.  This movie that uses actors and some archival footage, is making the case that in the aftermath of Pear Harbor that Four-Star Admiral Kimmel was railroaded and made a scapegoat.   The case is made that pertinent intelligence and other valuable information was kept out of the hands of the Admiral in charge of the safety and security for the ships and the men.   As a result of the attack, expected inquiries were made (a Supreme Court Justice led the investigation and issued the 20 page report to the President) where they found dereliction of duty.  He had two stars removed and his Command was handed over to Admiral Nimitz.   His honour was tarnished and people attached him mercilessly.   There is part of me that thinks with a hesitant American pubic to be fully engaged in a War in Europe that an act against them directly was inevitable and expected to finally bring them into the War fully.  And with the intelligence of the day, I would expect someone knew about the Japanese navy leaving port on November 25th 1941.   US intelligence would have spies in the same way that the Japanese did in Hawaii.    But it is unlikely that we will uncover this.   Presidents from first George Bush to Clinton, Bush and Obama have all been asked to reinstate the stars to disgraced Admiral Kimmel.   So far they haven’t.  Politics suggests that they won’t given the positive outcome of these decisions and a desire not to dredge up old wounds, whether true or not.

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