Bob Small Oscar Rules

Bob Small Oscar Rules

By Bob Small

These would be the new Bob Small inclusion/exclusion rules for the 2024 Oscars.  We would not try to bake in any “diversity”, though this should be naturally  happening as our society diversifies, not by any rules. My limitations are language and time. Nothing else. Much simpler.

We should add that we are DVD/VHS only people as we no longer have cable and do not stream, or philosophic reasons. (That is a separate post) We’re dependent on DVD Netflix, Delaware County Library System and Thrift stores.

Every year we try to sample at least a few of the recent Oscar winning films. We do have our criteria and/or prejudices. Whether or not this is cultural imperialism, my feeling is that any film nominated for an Oscar by the Academy of Motion PictureArts and Sciences should be in English unless it is for Best International Feature Film.

Now we do watch (Indian) Bollywood Musicals and Operas, most of which are in other languages, but we don’t really need the subtitles to get the gist of what’s going on.  But we tried to watch “Everything Everywhere All at Once” but were quickly and unilaterally defeated in that effort, in trying to follow the subtitles. 

We did get through ” Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”, but missed about one third, again due to subtitles.  We’ll pass on the other foreign language films, including All Quiet on the Western Front, Bardo, Full Chronicle of Truths, The Quiet Girl, and Triangle of Sadness.  We’ll still watch RRR because it’s from India.  Maybe we are cultural imperialists.

Another objection we have is bloated films over two hours, though there are exceptions such as  King Kong (1976) ,Twilight’s last Gleaming , and The High and The Mighty.  This is subjectivity from times of watch-watching  i.e.  watching the 1997 Titanic in a Delco Theater and thinking “did he drown yet?”

Among the winners over two hours were;  Avatar:The Way of Water, Babylon, Blonde, Elvis, The Fabelmans, and Tar.

Who is the 2023 Hollywood audience for these films?  Are there still people going to movie theaters or is it all cable, streaming, etc?

We still plan to see;


The Banshees of Inasbern

The Batman (“cause it’s a Batman movie)


Empire of Light

The Fabelmans (because it’s Spielberg)


RRR (it’s from India, isn’t it?)


What would be your inclusion exclusion rules for the 2024 Oscars.?

Bob Small Oscar Rules
Bob Small Oscar Rules

Remembering Mark Vanderheld

Remembering Mark Vanderheld

By Joe Guzzardi

Mark Edward Vanderheid was born in Tonawanda, N.Y., on Feb. 11, 1949. Four months after his 20th birthday, and only six months after he arrived in South Vietnam in 1968, Vanderheid, a U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal, lay dead on the Quang Tri battle field; mortar shell fragments had torn his body open. Young Mark was one of 58,222 who died in the Vietnam War. Among the enemy, an estimated 1.1 million North Vietnamese and Viet Cong fighters were killed; 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers died, and more than 2 million innocent civilians were killed.

The futile war in Vietnam began in 1959 when the first U.S. soldiers were killed during a guerrilla raid on their quarters near Saigon; the war ended ignominiously in 1975. U.S. forces never had a chance. President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, the powers that escalated the war, had no exit strategy, and knew that Americans back home would be unwilling to make a sustainable commitment to victory. Such a pledge would mean higher taxes to support Johnson’s guns and butter economy, thousands more lost lives and more domestic turmoil. In 1997, during a meeting with McNamara, Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap told his foe that the U.S. could never have won. The Vietnamese, Giap said, were willing to fight for 100 years.

At different times and to different degrees, Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon – the war’s architects – realized that Vietnam was a morass, a disaster in the making, and defeat, inevitable. McNamara: “We were wrong, terribly wrong.” Their too-late awakening was cold comfort to Lillian and Edward Vanderheid, Mark’s parents, as well as to the other families whose loved ones, while defending a misguided, and ultimately failed cause, died too young.

Mark’s body was returned to Tonawanda in July, and he was buried with military services at Elmlawn Cemetery. On Dec. 19, 1968, the Tonawanda News published a letter from the Vanderheid family in which they shared memories of their hero son, and expressed gratitude for the two memorials that had recently been dedicated to Mark, one an award given in his name to the most spirited Tonawanda High School varsity football player. The other memorial, Lillian and Edward wrote, is the Payne Avenue Christian Church’s “beautiful stained-glass window.” The letter continued: “Words just can’t express the deep feeling within us as we sat in church listening to the memorial dedication service the young friends of Mark’s had to dedicate the stained-glass window that has been put in our church in memory of him. May God Bless you all.”

Grieving Lillian and Edward remembered how Mark loved to play sports and teach other young boys how to play. He coached Little League and also umpired games. Lillian thought back to one day when Mark was home on leave and said, “Mom, someone has to help those people over there. Those kids have never known anything but war. If I can do even a small part to help them to someday just be kids and enjoy a childhood like I did, to be able to throw baseballs and footballs instead of hand grenades, I’ll have done my part.” Lance Corporal Vanderheid did more than his part, and deserved to live a full, rewarding life. The Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon Vietnam war-obsessed White Houses stole from Mark, and from other thousands, that basic privilege.

Mark’s name is on the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington, D.C., panel W54, line 8. His biography appeared in Gary Bedingfield’s “Baseball’s Greatest Sacrifice,” dedicated to the 500 players who died in service to America.

Joe Guzzardi is a Society for American Baseball Research and Internet Baseball Writers Association member. Contact him at

Remembering Mark Vanderheld

Memorial Day Shouldn’t Be Commercialized

Memorial Day Shouldn’t Be Commercialized

By Bob Small

Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May, to honor US Troops who have died in service. Its original name was Decoration Day.  Waterloo, N.Y. claims to be the first locale to  observe Decoration Day on May 5, 1866.  though other areas also claim that honor.  The mutation to “Memorial Day Sales”, can only be seen as a function of American Capitalism and a betrayal of its original intent.

See below for some related websites,  including one Joe Biden invention., Home | Veterans For Peace › brentwoodboropd › 17167 › post › national-police-week-2023 › memorial-day-2023

Memorial Day 2023 | Vietnam Veterans of America

We may just want to examine how often there are needless fatalities during war.

One of the best movies about this, which we just recently screened –we’ll miss Netflix DVD when it goes — was Tora! Tora! Tora! from 1970.

This under-appreciated movie clarifies that not all in the Japanese government agreed with the idea of attacking Pearl Harbor.

 It notes that U.S. decision makers were more afraid of sabotage than a military attack.

It points out the a tactical mistake of moving US Fleet from the relative safety of San Diego to Pearl Harbor.

This, like many bad decisions were made by the FDR Administration without consulting the major players in the Navy.  This lack of communication between the White House and the Military seems not to have an end date

Then there was the decision to leave the planes on the ground and others.

For a good summation of all these points, and many more, go to the trivia section of the IMDB Website on this movie.

As a comparison, to how we handle the day to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, Russia had it’s annual Victory Day celebration on May 9;

They don’t seem to have any “Victory Day Sales”, or start any vacations at their “Black Sea”shore which granted might be problematic at this time, but they do remember their losses in World War 2. 

Maybe they have the right idea.

Memorial Day Shouldn't Be Commercialized

Cowardice Is Hollywood Tradition

Cowardice Is Hollywood Tradition

By Bob Small

Hollywood has a sordid history of refusing to have a moral backbone, from racist films such as Birth of a Nation (1915) to the failure to oppose the 1934 Hays Production Code to acceptance of a blacklist to numerous other other things.

Now, this same Hollywood, has created “new inclusion rules” for Oscar consideration.

The standards are requirements for on screen representations 30 percent of smaller roles are played by women, LGBTQ, disabled people, or ethnic minorities.

Also, creative leadership with similar quotas.

Also, industry access.  Again these are quotas for “under-represented groups”. 

But whose definitions are we using?

There is also an audience development standard.

The late Kirstie Alley responded by saying  “Can you imagine telling Picasso what had to be in his paintings.?”

Richard Dreyfuss has also spoken in opposition to these new rules extensively

“It’s an art. No one should be telling me as an artist that I have to give in to the latest, most current idea of what morality is,” he said.

Let me just add that the 2004 version of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, with Al Pacino is tremendous.  Pacino, it should be noted, is not Jewish.

Guess this should be remade with Woody Allen, Larry David, or Paul Rudd  or…….

Cowardice Is Hollywood Tradition

Cowardice Is Hollywood Tradition

Mozart Symphonies And Social Knowledge

Mozart Symphonies And Social Knowledge

By Bob Small

The program notes from an April 29 Swarthmore College student concert noted that Mozart had written over 50 Symphonies.  My previous understanding, from my first attempt at a college education, was that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had written 41 Symphonies, no more and no less!  I understood this the same way that I understood our universe had a total of nine planets.

However, prior to sending an angry email to the Chair of the Swarthmore Music Department, it was time to use Duck Duck Go for some independent research.  

What I found was that Brittanica lists “50 odd” symphonies, while Wikipedia says there were sorta 56.

Neither of these agreed with my understanding of 41 Symphonies.  Then again, in August 2006, Pluto was “deplanetized”.  

Assuming this is not “wokery”.  Could Mars, the planet of war, be next to be removed? Shouldn’t we all support peace?

Seriously, some of what was “social knowledge” of half a century ago, has changed.  For one instance, though many of us had a permanently single relative, we may have thought the term “queer” but rarely used it, in my family at least, as that would be “impolite”.  Now we acknowledge Gays and Lesbians do exist, and have a right to.

However, social knowledge wise, we still do not “normalize”  pedophiles, despite NAMBLA as the general agreement that minors do not have the maturity to make this decision.

This leads to the question of what other commonly accepted social knowledge of 2023 will have been reconsidered in say 2033 and how do we decide what should and shouldn’t be?  All responses welcome.

Back to Mozart, Patricia Johnson of Curtis, one of four Musicologists who I contacted, said “it’s unlikely we’ll ever have a definitive answer”. As to the number of symphonies.

Which leads to the question of will there ever be a definitive commonly accepted social knowledge?

And should there be?

Mozart Symphonies And Social Knowledge

Mozart Symphonies And Social Knowledge

Swarthmore Republicans Out Of The Closet

Swarthmore Republicans Out Of The Closet

By Bob Small

In Swarthmore, we pretty much believe “everything is everything” and do not question most desires.

Drag Queen Children’s Story Hour?


Five story condo in the middle of town?


You may even start seeing “Joe Biden again, I guess” signs popping up. 

But even “woke” Swarthmore can’t sleep on this. 

Nikki Haley Campaign signs on Swarthmore lawns that are not No Mow May Lawns 

This means that there are active Republicans living in Swarthmore. And we thought we had driven them all underground. Well, they have “come out”

Many see Nikki as an “antidote” to Trumpism and a reply to Bidenism.

Nikki Haley was born as Nimrata Nikki Randhawa, the daughter of (Sikh) Indian Immigrants whose business thrived in South Carolina.  She became a Methodist at some point in her journey.  She was the first female governor of South Carolina (2011-17).  She then became the US Ambassador to the UN (2017-18) under then President Trump, with whom she sometimes agreed. In 1996, she married then US serviceman Michael Haley.  At age 51, she is one of the youngest “declared” GOP Candidates.

Among her positions, she backs Congressional Term limits.

On abortion, she says  “Let’s find national consensus”, a truly radical position. › politics › 2024-election › nikki-haley-2024-candidate-pledging-federal-abortion-ban-not-honest-rcna84365

Nikki Haley: A 2024 candidate’s pledging a federal abortion ban would

This stirred up the SBA (Susan B. Anthony Pro Life America group)

If you want to read more on Nikki Haley, consider this 86-page article in

Or this one.

It’s only 22 pages!

Who knows what other candidate signs might pop up in my borough. Chris Christie? Venture Capitalist Vivek Ramaswamy? Miami Mayor Francis Suarez?

This isn’t the Swarthmore I thought I knew.

Swarthmore Republicans Out Of The Closet

Swarthmore Republicans Out Of The Closet Swarthmore Republicans Out Of The Closet

Christina Gehrig, the Iron Horse’s Iron-Fisted Mom

Christina Gehrig, the Iron Horse’s Iron-Fisted Mom

By Joe Guzzardi

Lou Gehrig had two women in his life, his mother Christina and his wife Eleanor. Had the two been able to get along, the personal life of the legendary New York Yankees ballplayer and Hall of Famer would have been less stressful.

During Gehrig’s youth, Christina, a first-generation German immigrant, was the family’s backbone. Father Heinrich was mostly unemployed, drank and was frequently ill. Lou was the only one of the Gehrig babies to reach adulthood. Three others died in their infancy. Understandably, Christina became overprotective of Lou and urged him to abandon baseball, which he picked up as a teen playing in neighborhood games. She wanted him to focus on his school books.

When Gehrig enrolled in Manhattan’s Commerce High School, he starred in football and baseball. After Gehrig’s Commerce team beat Chicago’s Lane Tech High in Cubs Park, later Wrigley Field, the 10,000 in attendance knew they had seen a superstar in the making. In an account of Gehrig’s game-winning grand slam, the Chicago Tribune wrote that “his blow would have made any big leaguer proud….”

The Gehrig family was poor. While in high school, Christina worked as a Columbia University housekeeper at Sigma Nu Theta. Lou often went to the fraternity house to help his mother serve dinner and wash dishes. Gehrig also worked part-time jobs in butcher shops and grocery stores to help supplement the household income. A New York Giants scout arranged a 1921 Polo Grounds tryout for Gehrig, but no-nonsense manager John McGraw screamed at his coaches to get him off the field: “I’ve got enough lousy players without another one showing up.” For the balance of his managerial career, McGraw rued his hasty decision.

Christina Gehrig, the Iron Horse’s Iron-Fisted Mom
Lou and Christina

By 1925, Gehrig, age 22, was an established Yankees starter who began to challenge teammate Babe Ruth for homerun titles. The two, despite contrasting personalities – the shy, retiring Gehrig and the bombastic Ruth – became friends, fishing buddies and barnstorming partners, the “Bustin’ Babes vs. the Larrupin’ Lous. Christina, who by this time realized that professional baseball players could earn good paychecks, loved Ruth. The Bambino gifted Christina a puppy which she named Judge, a nickname for Ruth. The extra money Ruth generated was nice too. Lou made $2,000 more on the barnstorming tour than he did during the season.

Ironically, Ruth was at the center of a lifelong feud between Lou and his mother. Christina took a dim view of Lou’s girlfriends, seeing them as threats eager to win away her beloved son. When Chicago socialite Eleanor Grace Twitchell caught Lou’s eye, Christina strongly disapproved. In her autobiography, “My Luke and I,” Eleanor described herself as “young and rather innocent, but I smoked, played poker and drank bathtub gin….” But smoking and drinking weren’t the vices that most bothered Christina.

Mother Gehrig had heard through the grapevine that on a years-ago trip to Chicago, Ruth befriended Eleanor. Christina, and the entire baseball world, knew that Ruth didn’t maintain platonic relationships with women. When Lou and Eleanor married in 1933, friends had to persuade Christina to attend.

As Lou’s career flourished, the women cheered Lou on, albeit from separate vantage points. Christina and Eleanor watched with pride as Lou closed in on the most-consecutive-games-played record, then 2,130. But the rift between Christina and Eleanor never healed. Lou’s physical condition deteriorated – “like a great clock winding down,” wrote Eleanor. A butler, a housekeeper and his mother-in-law who moved into the couple’s two-story home in Riverdale nursed Gehrig, but not Christina.

After Lou passed, tension between the in-laws deepened. The parties disputed how Lou’s estate should have been divided. Heinrich and Christina believed that Eleanor was withholding monthly payments from a $20,000 life insurance policy payable to Lou’s parents. An out-of-court settlement was reached.

Christina and Heinrich faded from the news, and died quietly. Eleanor, however, remained prominent, at least publicly. Married to Lou for only eight years, widowed for 43, Eleanor approved the final draft of “The Pride of the Yankees,” donated Lou’s baseball treasures to the Hall of Fame, left $100,000 to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, and another $100,000 to the Rip Van Winkle Fund for ALS research.

Privately, a lonely, friendless and childless Eleanor withdrew, drank excessively and, once, passed out, caught her bed on fire from smoking. At Eleanor’s 1984 funeral, only two attended, her attorney George Pollack and his wife. And so ended the sad Gehrig family saga; Lou gone too soon, and his family unhappily bickering all the way to their graves.

Joe Guzzardi is a Society for American Baseball Research and Internet Baseball Writers Association member. Contact him at

Firefighters Fight In 108th

Firefighters Fight In 108th

By Bob Small

After long term Pennsylvania 108th District Rep Lynda Schlegal-Culver  (12 years) won a special election on Jan. 31 for State Senate District 17, a special election was scheduled to replace her in the 108th.

It will be Tuesday, May 16.

Running are Trevor Finn (D), Michael Stender (R) and Elijah Skretching (L).  

The district  is In Montour and Northampton counties, including Rockefeller Township.  It has been a Republican seat for about 60 years.

For possibly the first time ever in a Pennsylvania State House race, both major Party Candidates are firefighters.

Trevor Finn worked at Finn’s News Agency, the family business.  He has been Commissioner of Montour County since 2004.  He has been operations chief and facilities commissioner if the Montour County Emergency Management Agency.  He has worked as an EMT and volunteer firefighter.  

He lives in Danville with his wife, Betsy, a kindergarten teacher.  They have two children who became teachers.

Michael Stender is a firefighter and a former emergency room technician.

Stender is a lifelong resident of Sunbury and he and his wife have three daughters. He is a Bloomsburg graduate and has done various volunteer work.

The Libertarian Candidate Elijah Scretching spent five years in the Marines. He lives in Northumberland Borough with his wife and daughter.

In a candidate’s debate,  he said “I want the people to have the power, not the government”.  He is in favor of having armed guards in the schools because “We have to stop being reactive and start being proactive.”

Firefighters Fight In 108th

Dem Incumbents Battle Challengers In Chester

Dem Incumbents Battle Challengers In Chester

By Bob Small

If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

Eldridge Cleave

Incumbents William Morgan and Elizabeth Williams are facing challenges from Tamika M. Gibson and Fred Green in the Chester City Council in the May 16 Democrat Primary.

All participated in the League of Women Voters Forum available on YouTube.

“I hear a lot about plans that are supposed to be coming forward but you had six to eight years to put a plan in place and now because it’s election season, I hear what we’re planning to do,” Ms. Gibson said. “The plan has failed. We need a whole new administration to come forth to implement better plans to change the situation that Chester is in. The plans that you’ve already had don’t work. They haven’t worked. It’s time to get rid of the old and put something new in place so that we can move forward properly.” 

There are a number of YouTube videos of Tamika M. Gibson.

Fred Green is vice-president of Chester Upland School District, and has been a Salvation Army Board Member, a community liaison to Mayor and Council. For more information, see the following websites;

Councilman and Deputy Mayor William Morgan has a bachelor of science in communication from the University of Rhode Island. He was appointed to City Council, when Natis Nichols resigned in September 2016. He had worked for TD Bank as a Financial Services Rep.

Councilwoman and Director of Public Property and Recreation Elizabeth Williams has an associates in Early Childhood Education from Delaware County Community College. She has worked in various capacities for numerous insurance companies.  She is executive director for the Chester Democratic Party and vice-dhair for the Delaware County Democrats.

Dem Incumbents Battle Challengers In Chester
Dem Incumbents Battle Challengers In Chester

Child Labor Back In Vogue

Child Labor Back In Vogue

By Joe Guzzardi

Even though the nation is divided about immigration and its consequences, on one point, unanimity must be reached. Immigration, whether legal or illegal, cannot be a vehicle for child labor. And yet, the Department of Labor has uncovered several incidents that involve under-age migrants working in slave labor-like conditions.

A DOL Tweet: “Packers Sanitation Services Inc. has paid $1.5 M after @WHD_DOL investigators found the company employed at least 102 children-aged 13-17 – in hazardous occupations and had them working overnight shifts in 13 meat processing facilities in eight states.” Furthermore, DOL accused PSSI of employing “oppressive child labor in perilous conditions.”

In a series of stories, NBC News provided the horrific details. PSSI, a company contracted to work at slaughterhouses and meatpacking facilities throughout the county, allegedly employed at least 31 kids – one as young as 13 – to work overnight cleaning shifts at three facilities in Nebraska and Minnesota, a Fair Labor Standards Act violation. Additional evidence indicated that the company may also have employed more under-age children in similar perilous conditions at 400 other sites nationwide. Identity theft is rampant and a major facilitator in underage migrant employment.

PSSI is a huge company that employs about 17,000 and has contracts with hundreds of meatpacking facilities. Toiling at PSSI wasn’t an after-school job at the soda parlor. During the graveyard shift and across three slaughter houses, when they should have been home in bed, minors literally slaved away, mopping up bloody floors.

Interviews with the minors, in their native Spanish language, revealed that several children began their slaughterhouse shifts at 11 p.m. and worked until dawn, some for six or seven days a week, and often for periods of up to 15 months. At least three victims suffered chemical burns.

The NBC News story skirted the central factor that abets minor children’s criminal employment – President Biden and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ open border. Don’t be misled. The media’s deceptive language about “unaccompanied minors” (UACs) is intended to deflect the truth – UACs are more accurately described as the victims of child smuggling rings and are tied into the Biden administration’s open borders policy. As the minors mature into adulthood, they become embedded in the permanent labor force. To most of them, any job is a good job. They need incomes to send remittances back home and to pay off their smuggling fees.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics show that after President Biden took office in January 2021, he acted immediately to eliminate effective policies, including categorically exempting UACs from Title 42. UAC encounters skyrocketed. Between FY 2020 and FY 2021, total UAC encounters at the Southwest border increased a staggering 342 percent, from 33,239 in FY 2020 to 146,913 in FY 2021. Those encounters increased to 152,057 in FY 2022 and are on pace to be at a similar level in FY 2023.

At a recent Senate hearing, Secretary Mayorkas couldn’t explain the child exploitation surge under his watch, a fact that The New York Times described as “ignored or missed.” Multiple veteran government staffers and outside contractors told the Health and Human Services Department, including in reports which reached Secretary Xavier Becerra, that children could be at risk. Critics had previously brought to Mayorkas’ attention that the DHS Office of Refugee Resettlement routinely releases minors into the custody of unvetted families, many of whom are illegally present, and likely also illegally employed. The Labor Department also issued news releases that noted an increase in child labor. Senior White House aides were shown proof of exploitation, like migrants working with heavy industrial equipment and caustic chemicals. The net result of multiple efforts to shine light on booming child exploitation: nothing.

Multiple felonies are committed on every step of the journey from the border to the slaughterhouse. Corrupt government and private sector employers hold the upper hand. Fines are meaningless. Hard jail time might make a difference. But if Congress can’t pass mandatory E-Verify, it’s unlikely to put its weight behind throwing the donor class behind bars.

Joe Guzzardi is a Project for Immigration Reform analyst. Contact him at

Child Labor Back In Vogue
Child Labor Back In Vogue Child Labor Back In Vogue
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