Fleet Week 2012

Early in October, during the waning days of summer, the windows of San Francisco’s skyscrapers will again rattle as the Navy’s Blue Angels roar into town for Fleet Week 2012, scheduled to run October 4 through October 8.

For thirty years, Fleet Week has celebrated the young men and women who gallantly serve in our Armed Forces. It has traditionally been the largest maritime and aviation event in northern California (although the America’s Cup race in 2013 may rival it).

It has been estimated that a million people are attracted to the Bay Area during this four day celebration. Regardless of the actual number, this event generates a lot of patriotic pride and rings the cash registers for a large number of businesses throughout our communities. There are numerous festivities associated with Fleet Week but the most popular is the air show over the bay and the parade of ships along the City waterfront.

This year’s event kicks off on Thursday afternoon when the six powerful F/A-18 Hornet jets of the Blue Angels conduct a one hour reconnaissance and practice flight over the bay. On Friday, other planes involved in the weekend air show also rehearse, along with the Blue Angels. The air show itself, featuring heart-stopping, high-speed encounters between planes, takes place over the bay for safety reasons.

Saturday typically has the busiest schedule. To comfortably follow the day’s action, visitors should arrive early to stake out a great viewing spot, wear a warm fleece and bring a good pair of binoculars. In the late morning, thousands of spectators normally line the northern City waterfront around the Marina Green to watch the parade of ships. The exact number and names of the ships has not been revealed yet, but they will be led by vessels from the U.S. Navy’s Third fleet, based in San Diego. Later that day, the ships open for public tours at their berths, usually from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

That afternoon, at 12:30 p.m., the initial air show will be presented, with interesting aircraft flown by the Coast Guard, Marines, Air Force and many others. Last year, the Marine Corps V-22 Osprey put on a particularly awe-inspiring demonstration of its vertical hover capability. But the ambient noise and crowd excitement level escalates severely at 3 p.m. when the Blue Angel jets make their appearance after taking off from San Francisco International Airport. For an hour, using various formations, the aircraft scream across the bay, making several high speed passes directly in front of the spectator stands (and over a myriad of private and commercial boats cruising the bay). Like a NASCAR fan, if you like the adrenalin rush that comes from the noise and speed of high performance vehicles, and dare-devil maneuvers, this is a dream come true.

On Sunday, the aircraft perform their final flight appearance, a repeat of the Saturday schedule. The naval ships remain open for free tours along the waterfront. Air shows and practice flights may be changed or canceled if the weather turns bad, such as one of last year’s Blue Angel demonstrations that was overcome by our fabled fog, creeping in through the Golden Gate in a not-so-subtle manner (did I mentioned you should bring a fleece jacket)?

The Sunday air show also competes for attention with the 144th annual Italian Heritage Day parade (aka Columbus Day Parade). This is the City’s oldest civic event and the nation’s oldest Italian-American community celebration, as the floats and bands wind their way from Fisherman’s Wharf to North Beach.

Of note, this year the Commander of the Third Fleet has requested that Fleet Week also reach out to East Bay Area communities. Other exhibits and events will include:

October 5-7 from 9 AM – 5 PM: The Marine Corps (13th Marine Expeditionary Unit) will display equipment and weapons exhibits at Alameda Point adjacent to the USS Hornet Museum located at Pier 3, Alameda, CA.
October 5 – noon: A “Salute to East Bay Veterans” Navy Band Concert near the Oakland City Hall.

All things considered, the first weekend in October promises to provide serious excitement and entertainment for the citizens of the SF Bay Area courtesy of the US Navy and US Marine Corps.

Editor’s Note: Bob Fish, a Trustee of the USS Hornet Museum and frequent contributor to ALIVE Magazine, attended the University of Virginia on a Naval ROTC scholarship and served his active military duty in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. So, he is “somewhat” passionate about the Fleet Week events!

Catching Up with Pat Boone

It’s been six years since Pat Boone graced the cover of ALIVE Magazine — the first time ALIVE featured a personality on its cover and because it was our Mother’s Day issue, it seemed appropriate. Boone was a major recording artist and popular film star of the 50’s and early 1960’s and we devoted six pages on his career with an exclusive interview by Antonia Venezia. That special May Mother’s Day edition was our most popular issue up to that time.

I caught up with Boone recently in Omaha, Nebraska, where he was appearing at film historian Bruce Crawfords’ showing of the classic 1959 movie, Journey to the Center of The Earth, which starred Boone. Coincidentally, Boone had just come from his 60th high school reunion in Nashville, Tennessee.

While decades may have passed since the peak of Boone’s career as a hit singer (second in sales only to Elvis back then) TV variety show host and movie star, he vividly remembers making Journey to the Center of The Earth, in which he co-starred with James Mason and Arlene Dahl.

Years ago, I worked in the film industry and for a while as a publicis for 20th Century Fox, Boone’s home studio. I fondly remember working at my very first real job as the assistant manager of the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California, where Journey to the Center of the Earth played first run.

I asked Boone how he happened to be cast in the film.He explained, “I did not want to be in the film. It was science fiction and I wanted to do romantic comedies, with music. The producer promised to add a song for me to sing (My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose) and even offered a percentage of the movie’s profits, but that was not my deciding factor — my manager and agent said they would ‘strangle’ me if I didn’t take the role! And I’m glad I did. It was the best part and some of the best singing I did in my whole career.”

Boone also shared some wonderful ‘behind the scenes, on the set’ stories with me. “The one that cracks me up the most was from a climatic scene in which James Mason, Arlene Dahl, Peter Ronson and I were on a raft, caught in a giant whirlpool. It was a tricky thing to shoot — the raft was on a revolving platform that tilted when it went around. It had to look like we were being tossed violently. Hundreds of gallons of water were being dumped on us to simulate a stormy sea. The noise was deafening, but not enough to drown out Dahl, who started screaming as she held on for dear life. She screamed at the director, Henry Levin, ‘Get me off this thing. Get me down. I’m going to pass out!’

She kept yelling. Mason had little patience for it. He thought Dahl had already overplayed the role of a dainty creature when we had to wear very heavy parkas, feigning winter amid very hot July weather, for another scene (Dahl complained then of heat prostration). Mason was not amused as this time he yelled back at her, ‘Shut up woman! We’re going to have to do this ten times if you don’t keep quiet.’ We were going to have to dub dialogue anyway, and they got the shot.”

Boone said that Dahl was hauled away to the infirmary on a stretcher. Boone added, “I got along tremendously with James Mason. I was in awe of him as an actor, and he was very helpful to me and very friendly. I liked the way he hummed a lot before a scene would be shot. He never hummed any tune I could recognize, but I think he was making sure that famous voice of his was warmed up and ready. He was thoroughly professional.”

Journey to the Center of the Earth may have saved 20th Century Fox,” Boone said, “the studio was in danger of being bankrupted by the filming of Cleopatra until Journey became a solid box office hit. It definitely ranks as one of the true adventure classics that had a profound influence on many future filmmakers, such as Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Brendon Fraser, eat your heart out.”

Boone’s boyhood idol and career role model was Bing Crosby, who had parlayed a singing career into a Oscar for Going My Way.

“Honestly, I never hungered for a movie career,” Boone said, “but they wanted me to do what Dick Powell had done — a singer who became a very dramatic actor. And I was in it up to my neck.”

Boone even gave up a successful TV variety show to pursue movies, but dramatic roles were hard to come by, as his pal Elvis Presley also learned. “Elvis and I were two Tennessee boys who visited back and forth,” Boone said, “I was the All-American boy and Elvis was the rebel. I was the conformist and he was playboy. We had a lot of the same fans, but we appealed to different instincts. Elvis once confided that he wanted to play roles like those in Journey to the Center of the Earth. Similarly, Boone desperately wanted to play the lead in the Sand Pebbles, but Steve McQueen got the part. “Rightfully so,” Boone added,

Boone did, however, turn down a meaty role with Fox’s reigning star, Marilyn Monroe. It was to be called Celebration based on a William Inge play. Boone wouldn’t compromise his Christian upbringing. Monroe had recently starred in Inge’s Bus Stop. Celebration was released a couple of years later with a title change. It was now called The Stripper with Joanne Woodward and Richard Beymer (in the role originally slated for Boone). It was one of Fox’s biggest flops. I think Mr. Boone made the right decision.

Pat Boone, known then as now for his conservative Christian values, said he turned down roles that would have required him to play corrupt hypocrites or pushed the envelope of on screen taboos. “I couldn’t conscientiously do those roles,” he said, “but you turn down a few and they quit coming.” For the film Journey to the Center of the Earth Boone said, “It was a milestone in my career — not just my movie career but my whole 55 year-long foray through the entertainment business. It was expensively produced, artistic and entertaining, and the whole family could enjoy it. What a concept! It was an honor (and a lot of hard work) to be in that film with people like James Mason and Arlene Dahl.”

Catching Up With Pat Boone – An Interview by Antonia Venezia

AV: Are you working on any new album projects currently? If so, please let us know about your new project or projects.

PB: I am so glad you asked. I’ve just recently finished and released an album of tribute to the fabulous Ink Spots, the seminal crossover black group who inspired the Mills Brothers, the Platters, and other great groups who would follow. They had so many big hits that were both R&B and pop, including, If I Didn’t Care, You Always Hurt the One You Love, We Three, and Java Jive. Millions of us love those songs and the group that made them so popular but they’ve been gone for years now. So I have recorded them with the help of Take 6, the equally fabulous a-cappella group out of Mississippi. It was incredible fun for all concerned and it’s tasty, historic and entertaining. And on one track, you hear me singing with Ella Fitzgerald, who recorded, Cow Cow Boogie, with the original Ink Spots and joins us posthumously on my record. You’ll get a kick out of it, I guarantee.

AV: Will you be speaking at any events in Northern California in the near future or in Southern California?

PB: I am heavily involved in this monumentally important political campaign. I’m doing robo-calls, video emails, and articles for World Net Daily, News Max and the Washington Times. I will do as many speaking events as I can and I am hosting our third annual Beverly Hills Tea Party event in front of the Beverly Hills sign on Santa Monica Blvd. We’ve had five or six hundred Beverly Hills residents at the first two and are expecting an even bigger crowd in October for this next one.

AV: Are you hoping for a positive change in November with the upcoming election?

PB: I’m hoping and praying, and hoping some more! In the last four years our national debt has tripled to over sixteen trillion dollars – a debt there’s no reasonable way to think we can pay – and has taken over healthcare as a government Big Brother program, while promising to take over five hundred billion dollars out of Medicaid. These are insane policies and programs but he manages to make them sound attractive. So millions and millions of us are praying for responsible leadership, a sensible and rational approach to keep us from becoming enslaved to our debts and becoming a prosperous free society again. Obviously, the Romney / Ryan ticket is the only alternative to the “wrack and ruin” current administration.

AV: How do you feel about the music business today?

PB: I love the diversity in the music business; anything goes today. I am concerned about the subject matter and lifestyles of some of our big music headliners, however. Young kids tend to emulate the stars and many of them aren’t wholesome examples, to say the least.

AV: What do you think your greatest accomplishment has been since the beginning of your career in music and acting in films?

PB: My biggest accomplishment is staying active and relevant in each of these fields of endeavor for over fifty years now. I’m still recording, doing television, and turning down movie scripts – until I get the right one.

AV: Will you be visiting the San Francisco Bay Area any time soon?

PB: I’m looking for excuses and reasons right now – maybe there will be a political one or two.

ALIVE and Antonia Venezia thank Pat Boone and his assistant, David Diggs, for making this interview possible.

Speaking from the Heart

Unspoken, painful feelings often lurk quietly in the shadows of our primary relationships. These unaddressed hurts and frustrations may silently create a wall—brick by brick—that blocks feelings of closeness.

For instance, do you have a friend who calls you to tell you how angry she is at her husband, son, daughter, or sister? You probably listen patiently as your friend rants and raves about someone’s behavior that hurt her. After you listen for a while and empathize, do you ever suggest that she talk to the person she’s upset with and let him/her know she’s disappointed, hurt, or whatever?

If your friend is uncomfortable with confrontation, then she’ll probably “vent” to you (and her other confidants) as a way to avoid sharing her vulnerability directly with the people with whom she’s upset. She’ll “blow off steam” with everyone except the person she’s upset with.

Can you relate? I can. And, the truth is, most of us have likely been on both sides of this communication dynamic — sometimes as the “ventor” and other times as the “ventee.”

Unfortunately, sharing vulnerabilities directly through communication is a skill not often handed down from one generation to the next. Instead, what is commonly handed down is a major barrier that blocks healthy and direct communication: triangulation.

As the word implies, triangulation happens when communication is indirect, behind someone’s back, and involves three people (thus creating a triangle). Triangulation becomes an over-used form of communication when someone lacks the awareness or skill to directly communicate personal feelings and needs to another person. In this way, triangulation becomes the opposite of heart-to-heart talks.

In my private practice, I often teach my clients assertive communication. Direct communication — assertiveness — is a skill, like a muscle, that needs to be developed and strengthened before we leave the gym and “take it on the road.” And of course, it’s important to consciously decide when to let “the small stuff” go and focus on issues that feel truly important.

Speaking your truth with compassion and honesty requires great courage. As you have undoubtedly noticed — speaking your truth with a loved one is no easy endeavor. Getting up the nerve to have a revealing heart-to-heart talk is stressful.

One reason for not pursuing a needed heart-to-heart talk is a fear that doing so will damage or end the relationship. Or, you may simply be afraid that you will hurt the other person’s feelings. Although these reasons may or may not have some validity, the danger is that when you repeatedly avoid the important heart-to-heart talks, the resentments may pile up and eventually cause a decline in the quality of the relationship.

However, when you trade “triangular communications” for a compassionate, assertive communication style, you courageously heighten the authenticity in your life. In addition, you develop direct connections with others and allow in deeper levels of emotional intimacy. Disengaging from indirect communication—and triangulation—awards you the opportunity to speak from your heart and strengthen your sense of personal empowerment.

If you feel that it’s time to heighten or refine your communication skill set, then consider contacting me about Assertiveness Training. My Assertiveness Training offers interactive communication exercises that are educational as well as inspirational. During the training, you can practice communicating assertively in the safe environment of my office. Humor and playfulness are integral parts of this important educational process.

In addition, through hypnotherapy experiences, you will receive an opportunity to strengthen your connection to your own inner wisdom and authentic voice. As a result, you’ll learn how to communicate with others by speaking compassionately from the heart. Thus, inviting the isolating “walls of silence” … to tumble down.

Join Trina and attend her Walnut Creek workshop for women and men: Managing Emotional and Compulsive EatingJohn Muir Women’s Health Center: Wednesday, October 17, 6:30-8:30 pm. Cost: $40. Seats are limited—register today for this inspiring workshop: (925) 941-7900 option 3. For more info, go to www.TrinaSwerdlow.com & click on “Private Sessions & Workshops.”

Trina Swerdlow, BFA, CCHT, is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, an artist, and the author and illustrator of Stress Reduction Journal. She currently has a private practice in downtown Danville. You can reach her at: (925) 285.5759, or info@TrinaSwerdlow.com.

Certified Clinical Hypnotherapy services in California can be alternative or complementary to licensed healing arts, such as psychotherapy.