POV: “Pitt is No Ka Oi!!”

If you hear someone at Yankee Stadium screaming “No Ka oi!!” after we beat Northwestern in the bowl game it’s a safe bet it’s either our punishing rsJR Nose Tackle Jeremiah Taleni or one of his extended family members who flew in from the Islands for the festivities.

Image result for jeremiah Taleni
“Hi POV”

It means “We’re the best!!” in the Hawaiian language, which is where Taleni hails from.  The Island of Oahu and Kailua town to be precise. 

But what is more likely though is that he’ll be fiercely whispering “I goin bust your face haole” to the white Northwestern Offensive Lineman guys across the line of scrimmage from him. 

 

Image result for scary samoan face
“You all bust up after wid me, Brah!”

Haole is not a term of endearment by an means especially when it is said directly to you by a 6’2″ and 290 lb maddened Hawaiian/Samoan who wants to vivisect you in as quickly a way as possible.

 

BTW – that is a Maori in the photo at left but I took license to show how fast us normal sized guys would crap our pants when lined up three feet away from Taleni. Our guy doesn’t have any facial tattoos…yet.

 But he’s not just scary – he’s been very effective as the on-deck nose tackle this season filling in after starters Tyrique Jarrett and Shakir Soto were injured back before the Miami game.  Taleni had played only spot duty in his Pitt career to that point which honestly surprised me.

I used to go to Hawaii HS football games at every opportunity when I was stationed there back in the early 1980s.  They play truly excellent football over there… much like WPA football was played back in the 50s and 60s – hard beat downs to the opponent and the last team standing wins the ball game.

Over there the HC will dress a play down for a mistake but the real lesson is learned when their Mothers start slapping them around as they walk off the practice field.

When I heard that Paul Chryst’s DL coach Inoke Breckterfield, who is also an Hawaiian, recruited Taleni I jumped for joy. We were still in the Aaron Donald era at Pitt so I knew Taleni wouldn’t play right away but I kept looking forward to when he could get in and show his stuff.

I though it would be sooner than this though as Taleni hadn’t gotten any real playing time until the second half of this season.  He redshirted back in 2013 as a FR and saw only spot duty since.

jt-stats

But now he’s on the radar screen and in a big way.  In his 2nd start as a Panther (he started the bowl game against Bowling Green in 2014) he had eight tackles against Miami with including a Tackle For Loss (TFL). That was good for 2nd most productive that day and his TFLs have become somewhat of a trademark for him in his past four games as he has an average of one per game since Miami.

Here are his and our other main defenders’ season stats to date:

jt-stats2

Boy, Price’s TFLs really jump out at you don’t they? Considering that two of Taleni’s six games played were mop-up duty and you can see that had he been a starter from jump street he’d be up in the leader board with his backfield work.

You can’t really second guess our DC, Josh Conklin, for going with Soto and Jarrett (Allderdice) as the interior DL starters this season.  The only real bright spot of our defense this year has been stopping the run game.

Up until the injuries mentioned above and prior to Miami we shut down our opponents running game in an excellent fashion to the tune of being 6th in the nation and giving up only 103 ypg and holding enemy rushers to a 3.20 ypc average.  Surprisingly though, given the numbers just shown, we were very poor at stopping rushing TDs having allowed 16 at that 8th week mark which is an average of two a game.

That was part of the reason, along with our bad pass defense, we were dead last (128th!) in Red Zone defense and the very best at inviting other teams to cross the goal line from inside our 20 yard line.  They did that to a tune of 97% of the time.  97%… Ugh.

Here is an interesting twist to that – in allowing those score we gave up 13 rushing TDs versus only seven passing TDs. You’d think that would have been reversed, huh?

Now however, and with Taleni playing full-time, we have moved up to 120th and bettered that average a bit. But here is what Taleni’s play has really impacted;  in the four games he’s been a starter the opponents have only scored an additional four red zone rushing TDs total.  That’s  only one per game vice the two per game we had been giving up when he’s been on the bench.

To drill down even further, in our most important win in ages when we bested Clemson Taleni had 1.5 sacks, both coming when Clemson was driving in Pitt territory.  His first one was with Clemson up by 21-20 and that play led to an INT by Maddox right afterward.

His second sack was at 42-34 Clemson ahead and that play forced a Clemson punt.  In a game that went down to a last second field goal those plays meant a great deal.  But perhaps what we’ll remember more was his being in on those 3rd and 4th down and 1  plays where he helped to completely stopped the runs up the middle.

Here are the highlights from that game;Taleni’s cruical 4th down TFL is shown at the 2:28 mark. (Never gets old watching this video).

Sometimes great players don’t get a chance to shine until late in their careers.  This is the case with Jeremiah Taleni.  But boy when he got his chance he grabbed it and went to town. We’ll see even more good play from him in the Pinstripe bowl in a few weeks I’m sure. 

But next season is going to be a real joy to watch as he pulls an Aaron Donald and takes Jarrett and/or Soto’s spot in the starting lineup.He plays much like Donald did also; quick off the snap and drives forward.

Both of those guys, Soto and Jarrett, are true SRs this season so it will be the Traveling Taleni Show in the trenches next year.  No one will make us forget Aaron Donald but I’ll say right now that Taleni’s going to be on the national scene quickly and often and will be the anchor of another good interior defensive line.

Note: Taleni isn’t just a good football player whose job it is to stop other players, of equal size or bigger, dead in their tracks.  He’s also a buddy with the real-deal Dali Lama“Really, I no screw aroun wid you brah.”

Image result for jeremiah Taleni
Shaka, Dali!

 

 

67 thoughts on “POV: “Pitt is No Ka Oi!!”

  1. I love the DiPaola story about him, where Taleni says that his Hawaiian friends now think that he talks a lot.

    Great article, Reed. So, who else fills the hole left by Soto and Jarrett?

    H2P

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  2. Great read Reed,

    Taleni is the one guy that is most responsible for saving our season with the win vs. Clemson.

    Thought we were done when Jarrett and Soto both went down.

    Makes me feel a lot more comfortable about our interior next year.

    Maybe we could call him Secretary of the Interior. Hope that is not too political. lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent article, great topic with this island young man playing so far from home. really enjoyed it. Penny had his seats a few rows down from us this year. Now Taleni seems like he’s been around for a long while already with a year to go.

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  4. So I guess the real question is why has it taken so long for Taleni to contribute for this program? Did Conklin and Narduzzi not see the potential in him? Or did he just practice poorly and as a result never caught the coaches eyes?

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  5. So many on this board have been clamoring for our 2016 freshman DT’s to contribute this year. In Taleni’s case its taken him 4 years to get any decent playing time. And I’m not sure how much playing time he would have gotten this year had Soto and Jarrett not both gone down several games back.

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  6. Need to go ” back to the Islands” and get a few more of these brutes … send Palumalu .. bring back Inoke Breckterfield… he should of had playing time vs Navy last … he could have played with the quicker more athletic Middies compared to the slugs we had out there

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  7. Would love to join you guys in NYC but my wife who also loves PITT is rehabbing her brand new knee joint that I bought her from Christmas 🎄.
    I have been reading the back n forth regarding our bowl game and I see both POV…we were 8-4 and a damn exciting 8-4 who could line up and be competitive against any opponent with a high powered O that keeps us in the game and a D that keeps our opponent in the game. Not bitching about drawing Northwestern.. it will be exciting.. and if you can attend you should go and support the team and make some memories.. We have only been to 2 bowl games in our lives – the Birmingham Bowl and last years Military Bowl … we had great time at both.. came back with great memories, made new friends including meeting POVers JoeLand the Big Kahuna himself ,Reed….Life isn’t getting any longer.. there is one more game left on the 2016 schedule… try to be a part of it…

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  8. Pittman4ever… Thank you… gotta keep her going … we celebrated her last miles on her original at the Clemson game…been together since the age of 16

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  9. Pitt should get respectable attendance for the Pinstripe. Not 15k like the Military last year but maybe close to 10k. I doubt Northwestern will bring more than that.

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  10. Northwestern claims that NYC has the second largest number of NW graduates, so they might get more than 10K. If you go to their SB blog site they seemed to be pretty pumped about the game in NYC.

    Another note Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports just released his latest Power Rankings. Guess who he gave the biggest positive jump to, and rated ahead of Florida State, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Georgia Tech, and Oklahoma State?
    http://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/college-football-power-rankings-dont-overlook-pitts-great-bipolar-season/

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  11. For those of you still reeling from the Duquesne loss… Fla Atl a 21 pt dog beat Ohio State on their home floor … and they were NOT missing their best player. Shit happens… just saying.

    With apologies to the super positive Dr Tom, I believe our AD negotiated a crap deal for Pitt to play in the snow at Yankee Stafium at 2pm on a Wed afternoon. Forget the opponent and the PR of the next few days. Can we please hire an AD that can put Pitt and it’s fans first! Thank you. I’m done

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  12. No worries Dan72. You’re entitled to an opinion. But please understand that a schools AD has little control over which bowl that his school gets invited to. The AD Has some veto power but that is not a leveraged position for negotiating a better deal at another venue. Just sayin.

    Just win baby! Let’s Go Pitt! Remember, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere, it’s up to you, New York, New York.

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  13. At 7:55 a.m. 75 years ago Japan launched a brutal surprise attack on Pearl Harbor slaughtering scores of men as they slept in their bunks on a Sunday morning. All for the god-like emperor and their rampant imperialism. I just wanted to take a second and remember those brave lost souls who where slaughtered and offer my thoughts and prayers to all who served in WWII and their families. If we are not vigilant we run the risk of losing our liberties that many before us sacrificed their lives for. God bless.

    My dad was in the army on the coast of North Carolina and his friend “Snuffy Smith” form the South Side spent the night shooting at tumbleweeds on the beach; mom was at her parents listening to the radio. The above was not intended to reflect a political statement. The excellent article on Taleni and watching PBS shows yesterday on the Arizona and Oklahoma.

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  14. As to Taleni there was a good article in the Pittsburgh paper a month ago on the adjustments he had to make in moving so far away from home. As fans we tend to not think of this aspect.

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  15. rkb..wish I was tech savvy but I am not but I read a great article written by George Guido in the Alle-Kiski valley edition of the Tribune review regarding the affect of WW2 on the local high school sports. 20 year old George G Leslie of Arnold was the 1st Pennsylvanian killed at Pearl Harbor at Wheeler air field. Arnold High School named their football field after him.. many young men left high school to join in the fight with many lying about their age.There was a shortage of man power so several smaller schools gave up football during the war years. Bell Township (now part of Kiski area had a female step-up to coach the football. Games played at night in Kittanning required light to be turned off at halftime…America’s greatest generation was forged….
    Again I apologize for my technical ineptitude..would love for all of you to read the article..George Guido is a historian for Alle-Kiski Valley sports and has written a book or to on the subject…

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  16. Not sure that Artis is Pitt’s best player.

    Mike Young leads the team in scoring, rebounding, FG%, blocks, and FT% and it’s really not close. He is second in 3P%. Without Young’s career game against Marquette and double-double against Yale Pitt may well be sitting at 4-4.

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  17. As I sometimes go a while without reading the ‘papers’ (remember them?) I didn’t see that Taleni piece in the Post Gazette.

    But when there are good subjects out there things overlap. Still, I try to give more info/personal insight as I’m not limited to a # of words as those writers are.

    I’ve been in a WWII reading & watching mode for about a month – right now I’m in the middle of “The Guadalcanal Diaries”. Everyone knows the details of Pearl Harbor but those vast and furious naval battles in the South Pacific were the real test of the war against Japan.

    We were getting our ass kicked on a regular basis down there which allowed the Japanese to take over all the rubber plantations and oil fields to feed their war effort.

    That is until the citizen workers of the US started pushing out naval warships to the tune of one a day (Thanks for the steel Pittsburgh!!) so we could beat them into submission by their warships lost attrition.

    I really wish Pittsburghers were taught more about the City’s contribution to the war effort. I had a conversation a long time ago with Admiral Ben Moreell, who was the Father of the Navy Seebees (Naval on-site construction groups) and lived his last years on Chatham’s campus back in the ’70s. I knew his grandson so we’d visit…

    He flat out told us that without Pittsburgh steel we couldn’t have ever won the war (he wasn’t a native PGH’er either) – not because of the massive volume PGH produced (far above any other city) but because the quality of the steel was so good it never failed. And we are talking thousands of huge ships’ hulls, armored vehicles, steel pontoons for harbors, on-site bridge construction, temporary airfields, etc.& etc…

    History about wars are so soon forgotten… I watch “Saving Private Ryan” with family and friends once a year before Memorial Day – we set out a dinner buffet and before the movie runs myself and my good friend Dan (a WWII Marine vet) share a little bit about what we did in Service – we both volunteered – even he would have had a medical exemption which he paid a Dr. to overlook. His story is the sexy one and everyone loves hearing it.

    Then we watch the opening scenes of the Marine invasion of D-Day… and pause the movie and ask the younger people why those men did what they did… the looks on some of their faces says it all,they have no idea that actually happened, then we watch the rest of the movie.

    I love the new generations of Americans coming up behind us older guys. I truly do and I work alongside a bunch of them and get into great conversations about their views, lives, beliefs, etc. I feel they are every bit as ‘good’ as us – just in different and more modern ways… but they are not being taught the reality of the world and its history of violence and thus the sacrifices by our generation and their own ancestors. We are failing them when we just shake our heads at them and their weird ways.

    When I hear someone complain that youngsters don’t “appreciate” what others have done I always ask that person when was the last time he took the time and initiative to sit down and actually conversed with them… and … I hear crickets.

    That lecture/presentation I did for our library system about the Coast Guard and my career in it was about a half days work on the computer to build a slide show and about an hour practice in front of my wife… but now I’ve been asked to turn that into a two-part 3 hour lecture and do it on a regular basis.

    I don’t get a penny of course – but what happens is that I ask people to bring their kids in also – to age 7 or so – and that makes for some really great and insightful questions from them.

    You don’t have to be a military guy to share your professional history with others… I can just imagine the stories some teachers or professors may have about that gig or First Responders, etc…any profession that contributed to the US and our people and we all do somewhat – most of us just don’t realize it.

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  18. As a baby boomer, it is hard to imagine what our parent’s generation lived through. The great depression, then WWII. Problems of today pale by comparison. Real heroes came home and went to work, never expecting any special recognition.

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  19. Barvo, I agree that Mike Young is our best player, but Artis is a very close second. Neither are good enough to carry the team without the other. It is interesting to consider what would have happened vs Duquesne if Young was the one suspended.

    Really disturbed that Jeter never picked up his game enough to join them as a team leader

    One thing that concerns me about Stallings so far is that I see no emphasis on offensive rebounding,

    No one even underneath the basket when shots are taken, certainly no one following their shots. When threes are taken everyone turns and runs on defense. Michael Young is playing on the perimeter much more and not looking to do the dirty work.

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  20. Reed,
    Speaking of which, my Polish grandmother who lived on top of Josephine Street (overlooking J&L Steel) went to work in the steel mill during WW2. Her nickname at the time? “Kate the Riveter.” My Baba was one tough broad!

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  21. Reed, In first grade we had two different airade drills, one where you got under your desk, and one where you went into the hallway and put your head on your forearm on the wall. I remember thinking that this wouldn’t do much if an atom bomb hit Pittsburgh.

    When Ridge was proposing duct taping your house, and using the color coded terrorist alerts, it reminded me of those drills.

    Not sure whether the goal was to prepare us or scare the crap out of us.

    “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”

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  22. gc – so true and the truth is that Congress authorizing them the GI Bill for a free 4 year education did more for the US then most realize – they were the professionals who built this country to what it is today.

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  23. Shout out to the Seabees – my grandfather was a Seabee, and veteran of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. I wear one of his Seabee vets hats every year at the Army Navy game to try to honor and remember him – may he rest in peace… It’s hard to imagine the life he lived. Very humbling.

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  24. While I’m on a roll………
    Both of my parents and my wife’s parents all grew up on hills overlooking the city.

    My father and mother in law grew up on Mt. Washington. Johnny Unitas sat behind her in alphabetical order in class at Saint Justin.
    As previously noted, my mom grew up on top of Southside on Josephine Street. (Sidenote: at the bottom of the street stood our local brewery, Duquesne Brewery).
    My Dad grew up on upper 5th Ave., the Soho district and before he received his HS diploma during the commencement ceremony practice the principle wrongly accused him of causing a disturbance while standing for the pledge of allegiance. The principle had the wrong kid, my dad was highly patriotic and got so mad he punched out his principle and went directly to the Army Enlistment Office and signed up for WW2. He made 5 beach landings under General McCarther in the return to the Phillipians. Yesterday would of been his 93rd birthday (he died on his 65th birthday). He was a fierce Pitt fan and never did officially graduate high school.

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  25. Pittman4ever… great 👍 story about your Dad .. a man’s man back in the day … sounds like
    That principle needed a little “Old Testament retribution”
    My Uncle Kelly fought with Patton in North Africa, Sicily, then landed at Normandy shortly after the beachhead was established then fought through the Battle of the Bulge to the Elbe river where Germany surrendered. He told me ” we got hold of the German artillary, the best in the world and Patton wanted to turn it against Stalin and the Russians.” They knew how evil Stalin and co. were…most of that generation kept quiet about there experiences, came home went to work ….BTW how many of you know the PITT alma mater is played to the melody of German Nationsl anthem

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  26. The history to the alma mater is something like this. The music was composed by Joseph Hayden in 1797 as part of a piece entitled “God Save Frances the Emperor”. It was the Austrian national Anthem up until WWI. Pitt adopted it in 1908 when the schools name changed from Western Pennsylvania University to the current name. Our alma mater’s music traveled through a dark time when the Nazis adopted it as the German National anthem. Note Hitler was Austrian. Good news is we were singing it long before the Nazi horror. This doesn’t have a lot to do about football but is interesting. See you jn NY.

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  27. WBpenquin, good stuff, I always wondered why the two tunes are the same.

    Kind of surprising that Pitt did not get a new anthem during WWII.

    Now a days some wanted to change French Fries to Freedom Fries.

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  28. Pitt vs NW is a nice draw for the Pinstripe. Should have a great crowd depending on the weather. Narduzzi will have them ready. He really wants to put a beating on the Big Ten teams. Helps with recruiting in Ohio.

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  29. Great Stuff guys!!

    When does Canada interview for the Temple Job?

    I don’t see him good enough for a LSU OC look. Would USF look at him?

    Pay him Barnes you big head fucksock.

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  30. Canada has experience – but the track record isn’t quite there yet…

    I think he probably has to string together a couple more seasons like this before we need to be worried. And with Narduzzi – he’s got a mentor that was patient and landed a P5 instead of having to work his way to the group of 5 muck…

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  31. Breckterfield hasn’t recruited one player from Hawaii to Wisconsin. But he does have some west coast connections. But he did bring Taleni to Pitt and he may be a great surprise next year.

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  32. Anyone else seeing the rumor that Bo Schneider has left the team? If so, Zaire becomes an absolute necessity. We have MacVittie and Dinucci and Pickett. That’s not enough!!

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  33. Reed – speaking of Pgh contribution to the war most LSTs used on D-Day were built in Pittsburgh including DRavo and out in Ambridge – I have a friend writing a history of their construction, They had one facility out where Hussey Copper is, they launcned a skeleton and finished outfitting it after sailing down Ohio and Mississippi to New Orleans, I was at Fort Knox with my friend inside a wooden building where they built a replica of the hold to run tests – the tanks had so much carbon dioxide they could only run so much before landing and had to come up with a way of venting the hold. Pgh was YUUUUGE in this construction,
    Havent heard of Schneider but this would be his third move if true.
    KEEP CANADA

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  34. ^^^ Obviously only Malik Zaire, Matt Canada and Pat Narduzzi really know what is going on —- but from all Media Reports it is 100% that Malik Zaire has either already visited North Carolina or is visiting this weekend, and he is 100% scheduled for his Wisconsin visit. Zero reports whatsoever on if Malik Zaire is visiting Pitt or about is level of Contact with Matt Canada and Narduzzi ( Yeah, how about we get on that Jerry DiPaola please, pretty Big-Story in Pitt Football!!! 🙂 lol)

    The Pittsburgh media has a Huge Story here in the mean-time during Bowl Prep, but it seems no Pitt Reporters have reached-out to Malik Zaire or his “camp” — to see the possiblity of him setting himself up nicely for the NFL — as a Panther with a Stocked Team and Matt Canada.

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  35. ^^ LOL me, on the meds today haha jk jk

    — but Matt Canada did have a very, very up-and-down career all the way up until this season. He was viewed as very inconsistent and average during his tenure at Wisconsin, and he was stragiht-up Fired by Dave Doeren last year (no other way to state it…but obviousy Pitt and Narduzzi’s gain!) after 2 seasons at NC State where again he was viewed byt heir fanbase as inconsistent at-best.

    We forget, that this year has been a total 180, Turning-The-Corner, Career-Year for Matt Canada as well! And a tremendous reason for that (as he stated himself) is that he has a Wonderful, Once-in-a-Career relationship with Pat Narduzzi. So me-thinks Matt Canada is 100% all in for one more season — and if he is as successful next year then Matt Canada’s agent’s phone will start blowing-up with the offers he can’t refuse.

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  36. Reed – I watch “Saving Private Ryan” every Memorial Day and get a bit verklempt at the end.

    Some gave all…all gave some. Thanks Vets!

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  37. Just got done watching Tora Tora Tora on TCM. This is a history lesson on film.

    The “sneak attack” on Pearl Harbor wasn’t supposed to happen. Japan’s Ambassador was due to present their ultimatum to Secretary Hull in Washington, DC just prior to the planned attack, but that didn’t occur on time. Thus the “sneak attack”, which proved out to be a most galvanizing event to unite our country with a great resolve to enter and win the war at all costs, no questions asked. Timing is everything.

    The rest, as they say, is history.

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  38. A bit of irony…was at a parade last year and WW2 vets were in the parade riding in Toyotas…My golf pro buddy took a group of golfers to play in Vietnam where he had worked…I own a BMW made in Germany…and I live in the South where we Yankees seemed to have taken over a 2nd time without a shot being fired (Thank God for air-conditioning or most of us would be back north of the Mason Dixon Line) All seems kinda crazy when one thinks of the millions and millions of injuries and lives lost and how it all turned out for later generations

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  39. When I was attending PITT (1970-75) I was employed at Wooding”s Verona Tool Works in Oakmont during every summer and Christmas vacation until I graduated. Wooding’s was a forge shop and made tools for railroads e.g. sledges, picks, crowbars…I worked with 3 ladies who began their employment during WW2 when many of the men left for war..Those ladies were great workers even in their later years. They kept busy and were productive,,one Italian lady, Ida, worked with me on a production line bundling metal rail plates that were used to secure railroad ties to the rail. Ida had to be in her 60’s and could out-work me..she could also out-cuss me…what a gal !!!

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  40. BigB,
    Good story! Thanks,
    When we look at how that generation lived and thought and how these millennials think today – What The Heck Happened??????????

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  41. What’s funny PittMan is that so many times while I was growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, (born in 55) the same or similar stories were told to me about the previous generation and we didn’t know anything. I guess this old-time opinion is just that, an unavoidable generation gap. Just like music for the most part. and I know, we have never seen anything like this, just like our parents.

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  42. I grew up in an area in western Pa where most young men worked in the same
    Mills, mines and farms that there grandads and dads worked … I graduated high school in 1970 in a class numbering 197 ( which graduates 🎓 about 75 currently) and was one of approximately 20 who went to college.. most went to work…
    This generation… wow ..where would one begin to figure out WTF happened? And in our watch… we kids of the 50s and 60s were blessed

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  43. Well, I’m one year older than you Ike and 2 years younger than BigB.
    The difference I see is that most of us respected our parents values and work ethic and tried to follow in their steps. Just don’t see that much anymore.

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