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Category: Opinion & Reader Forum

. . . and don’t call me Shirley

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A few weeks ago, I did a column on “essential” movie quotes, which was prompted by newfound awareness of a growing lack of cultural consciousness, especially among the younger generations.

My “oy vey” moment came when I realized a coworker had never heard of the film “Apocalypse Now,” much less the unforgettable line uttered by Robert Duvall:

“I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

I printed a little quiz, but did not provide the answers, assuming that anyone interested enough would find out for themselves. However, not everyone has ready access to the Internet, even these days, and in any case readers have been requesting answers. So here they are, citing both the movies from which they came and the actors who spoke them:

• “What do you mean, I’m funny? … Funny how? Funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you?”: Joe Pesci in “Goodfellas”

• “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!”: Peter Sellers in “Dr. Strangelove”

• “I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender”: Marlon Brando in “On the Waterfront”

• “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”: Peter Finch in “Network”

• “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night”: Bette Davis in “All About Eve”

• “I am big! It’s the pictures that got small.”: Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Boulevard”

• “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli”: Richard Castellano in “The Godfather”

• “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”: Gary Cooper in “The Pride of the Yankees”

• “Snap out of it!”: Cher in “Moonstruck”

• “You talkin’ to me? Well, I’m the only one here.”: Robert DeNiro in “Taxi Driver”

• “Round up the usual suspects.”: Claude Rains in “Casablanca”

• “The stuff that dreams are made of”: Humphrey Bogart in “The Maltese Falcon”

• “Say ‘hello’ to my little friend!”: Al Pacino in “Scarface”

• “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”: Clint Eastwood in “Dirty Harry”

• “Oh, no, it wasn’t the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.”: Robert Armstrong in “King Kong”

• “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”: Vivien Leigh in “A Streetcar Named Desire”

• “We rob banks.” : Faye Dunaway in “Bonnie and Clyde”

• “Open the pod bay doors, HAL.”: Keir Dullea in “2001: A Space Odyssey”

• “The calla lilies are in bloom again.”: Katharine Hepburn in “Stage Door”

• “Attica! Attica!”: Pacino in “Dog Day Afternoon” I also cited “What a dump!”- - noting that no one recalls the movie, but you should know the actress. I have found that readers did recall both the movie, “Beyond the Forest,” and Bette Davis’ role.

My special thanks to Adele Koci of Nutley, who also knew that the co-stars were Joseph Cotten and David Brian. Thanks, too, to the anonymous gentleman caller who wanted to make sure I wasn’t confusing Davis with Elizabeth Taylor, who parodied “What a dump!” in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

The headline on the column, “Go ahead, make my day,” was from Eastwood’s “Sudden Impact.”

In addition, scattered throughout the column were paraphrased quotes. How many of these did you catch?

• “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”: Paul Newman in “Cool Hand Luke”

• “You can’t handle the truth!”: Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men”

• “Life is like a box of chocolates”: Tom Hanks in “Forrest Gump”

• “I’m walkin’ heah!”: Dustin Hoffman in “Midnight Cowboy”

•”Houston, we have a problem.”: Hanks in “Apollo 13”)

• “Well, nobody’s perfect.”: Joe E. Brown in “Some Like It Hot” (It was the very last line in the film.)

• “ . . . liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”: Anthony Hopkins in “The Silence of the Lambs”

As for, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” if you can’t ID that, you’re hopeless.

–Karen Zautyk 

Thoughts & Views: Check your freedom to fly at the gate

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Much has been made of civilian authorities abusing their statutory powers – and responsibilities to the constituencies they serve – by creating chaos at public transportation hubs.

We have heard the allegations about Gov. Chris Christie and his political associates allegedly seeking to disrupt local traffic flows on approaches to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, allegedly to zing the borough mayor for not endorsing the governor for re-election.

And, more recently, there were charges made by the police chief Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop is seeking to demote that the city’s chief executive had ordered him to have his officers make an excessive number of needless traffic stops on the approach to the Holland Tunnel, reportedly to irk the Port Authority whom the city is suing.

Assuming the charges in either or both instances are accurate, those pale in comparison to the reckless downing of the Malaysian jet over Ukraine and the killing of its 298 passengers and crew. Read more »

Thoughts & Views: The thin blue line

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When the news first broke Sunday morning that a Jersey City police officer had been killed in the line of duty, word was that he had been responding to an armed robbery at a Walgreens drugstore.

Later that day, at a press conference, matters were clarified. Yes, a robbery had been reported. But the “suspect” made no attempt to flee. He waited outside the store for police to respond to the 911 call. And when the first radio car pulled up, he put a bullet in Officer Melvin Santiago’s head.

This was the deliberate targeting of a cop. Just because he was a cop. This was cold-blooded murder.

The killer fired at another patrol car, but was taken down by police before he could wound, or slaughter, any other officers.

On Sunday, the Officer Down Memorial Page (www.odmp.org) posted the following details:

“Police Officer Melvin Santiago was shot and killed at 4:09 a.m. when he and his partner responded to a robbery call at a 24-hour pharmacy on the corner of Communipaw Ave. and John F. Kennedy Blvd. Read more »

Thoughts & Views: We can all learn from the ‘write’ stuff

In its July 1 editions, The New York Times reported that, starting this month, the Associated Press would use computer automation to “report” about companies’ quarterly earnings.

The computer software company, furnished with data from a research source, will spew out stories “written with the tone, personality and variability of a human writer,” according to the company’s website, The Times noted.

So, we’ll get dry corporate cash reports delivered with a poet’s touch. Sounds intriguing. Read more »

Thoughts & Views: Two bullets, 10 million dead

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There was a seismic change to the world on June 28. Didn’t notice anything?

That’s okay. The change occurred 100 years ago, and back then the majority of people didn’t initially notice much either.

However, what happened that day launched a chain of events that would irrevocably transform nations, society and culture in ways then inconceivable and, even now, astonishing.

On June 28, 1914, on the streets of Sarajevo, a 19-yearold Bosnian Serb assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne.

(That’s Franz in the photo.) Read more »

CORRECTION

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Photos in last week’s entertainment story on The Whiskey Café were not properly attributed. Louise Surace took the photos we used.

Thoughts & Views: 52 million without country to call their own

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Imagine a winter scenario in which New York Gov. Cuomo is persuaded that his neighbors are meddling with the intrastate bridges and tunnels and orders out the Empire State militia and National Guard to invade the Garden State.

The state government in Trenton quickly topples, Gov. Christie abandons Drumthwacket and the State Police provide him with a high speed escort to a top secret Morris County retreat – quicker than you can say, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

Meanwhile, the Cuomo invaders don’t stop with taking over all transportation infrastructure – they begin occupying all state, county and local government offices, postal facilities, schools, businesses and forcing residents out of their homes, confiscating everything from private vehicles to farmlands, looting and burning as they go.

Hapless New Jersey defenders quickly disappear into the Pinelands and displaced civilians – grabbing only what they can easily carry – stream onto the local roads (Turnpike, Parkway, Rts. 3 and 280 all blocked by N.Y. militia) and head for Pennsylvania and Delaware in hope of finding refuge there.

Those states grudgingly permit the frozen, weary travelers entry but, with their economies already taxed to the limit, bureaucrats scramble to set up temporary lodgings in second-hand trailers and tents scrounged from FEMA. Food is trucked in – when the snow-packed roads are negotiable and not being strafed by New York drones – from scant emergency pantries.

Hard to imagine? Yes, indeed, but that’s the kind of life that millions of people – more than 50 million by one United Nations estimate – around the globe are facing as a result of being displaced from their native lands.

As reported by The Guardian on June 19, “The number of people forced to flee their homes across the world has exceeded 50 million for the first time since the second world war, an exponential rise that is stretching host countries and aid organizations to the breaking point, according to figures released [by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees]” for 2013.

The Guardian quoted UNHCR head Antonio Guterres as saying, “We are witnessing a quantum leap in forced displacement in the world.”

By the UNHCR’s calculations, the civil war in Syria bumped up the 2012 global count by 6 million alone. As reported by The Guardian, “By the end of last year, 2.5 million Syrians had fled across the country’s borders and 6.5 million were internally displaced – more than 40% of the population.”

Fighting in the Central African Republic and South Sudan accounted for further displacement, the international agency report said.

An average of 32,200 people had to leave their homes every day, according to the agency. That’s comparable to the communities of Garfield or Orange or Fair Lawn suddenly emptying out.

Of the estimated 51.2 million forced to leave their homes worldwide, the UNHCR classifies 16.7 million as “refugees,” of whom Palestinians, Afghans, Syrians and Somalis comprise about half the total and are being absorbed primarily by Pakistan, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

Nearly 1.2 million of the global total are listed as “asylum seekers,” the majority of whom are being hosted by Germany.

And 33.3 million of the total are “internally displaced people,” meaning they were forced out of their homes but stayed in their home countries.

Of those who end up leaving their homelands, Guterres says that many are preyed on by “increasingly sophisticated trafficking gangs” who use “rape, torture, sexual exploitation, organ harvesting, extortion and murder” to exploit them.

Needless to say, children – thousands unaccompanied by parents or relatives – are the most defenseless against such criminality.

The U.S., of course, continues to struggle with its own “hosting” of immigrants, many fleeing north from impoverished Central America or from criminal gangs in Mexico. Periodic calls for “immigration reform” measures were heard on Capitol Hill but the House and the Senate have been unable to agree on legislation.

And so runs the world away from one of its most pressing people issues.

– Ron Leir 

Thoughts & Views: Go ahead, make my day

So, one day I’m sitting at my desk at The Observer when there came this brief but loud noise from outside followed by a strange chemical odor wafting briefly through the open window.

I never did find out what had happened, but at the time, I commented, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

A co-worker laughed, and I said, “I also love that movie.” And she said, “What movie?”

Apparently she thought I was just being clever, and I realized that what we had here was a failure to communicate. Read more »

WE’VE GOT MAIL

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EXPECT ‘AN INCREDIBLE JOURNEY’

To North Arlington High School graduates: 

I want to congratulate you on your graduation from high school. You have put in a lot of work to reach your goal and you should be proud of your achievements.

You are about to embark on an incredible journey filled with unforeseeable twists and turns. Some of you will travel far from North Arlington and take on challenges you never imagined you could. Some of you will stay close to home and become part of the fabric of your community. Some will go to college, or trade school; others are destined for the U.S. military. No one path is right for everyone so follow the path that suits you best.

Choosing the right path in life in not always easy.

Be true to your principles; never forget who you are or where you came from. You don’t know it now, but a big part of who you will become someday is already embedded deep inside of you.

I’m not going to tell you to go out and change the world, because most of you will do that in small, almost imperceptible ways that you will come to appreciate only decades from now.

Be honest and forthright. Try new things; test yourself. You will make mistakes, and that’s okay; you will learn more from your mistakes than from your accomplishments. Don’t be afraid to work hard. Don’t sell yourself short and don’t listen to your critics.

Most of all, I implore you to be good citizens. America is at a very pivotal time in its history. We need people of good character to step forward and become doers in our communities, not takers. America has plenty of critics and naysayers. What we need are people willing to roll up their sleeves and make positive contributions to their town, their state and their country.

You are lucky to live in the greatest nation on earth – one that allows you to follow your dreams and set your own measure of success. But remember: America didn’t become great by accident. Many men and women worked very hard to give you the inheritance of political liberty and personal freedom that you now enjoy. Appreciate what this country has to offer and find a way to make it better. If you can do that, you will be a success.

Best wishes, 

Mayor Peter C. Massa
North Arlington 

Thoughts & Views: Before you take that overseas trip, read this

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With the summer vacation season upon us, those of us fortunate enough to be able to afford it will be booking flights to destinations around the globe.

So a reminder: Make sure your passport is up to date.

Should be pretty simple to check, you would think: If your passport hasn’t expired, stands to reason you should be good to go, right?

Nope.

Don’t get caught like a fool holding your luggage at the airline terminal and being told in no uncertain terms that even though your passport is in good standing, you can’t get on the plane because your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your intended date of departure.

That’s right, folks. So says the U.S. Department of State. Read more »