OPEN LETTER TO MY FUTURE WIFE

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1. Dearly beloved, I write to you in this moment through a calling in my spirit, just as Paul wrote to the church in Ephesians for bearing in mind that we are already made one body by faith.
2. Even as I subject in my utmost prayer the one I deeply love for this same purpose, I hence make reference to you also the yet to be married women amongst our kin to join faith with me in this terrestrial request.
3. Retard not from memory the story of Queen Vashti who was disgraced out from her place of grace by her King. Knowing that to every Queen, there must be a King and to every King a Queen;
4. And the King is anointed and ordained to be the head of the Queen, to protect and provide unto her all her needs physically and spiritually
5. As we are all already made Kings and Queens through terrestrial heritage, but yet be ye not ignorant of the fact that while grace prevails, character sustains.
6. It is but only a foolish woman who wholesomely rest upon her beauty, for this too is vanity and shall soon fade away. The permanent home address of a woman’s true beauty is indeed in her character.
7. My first prayer unto you this day is to rebuke every residue spirit of Vashti that yet resides in thee whose fruits are well known to be pride, arrogance, disrespect, uneasy to submit, self-centered, ingratitude
8. And secondly, for the manifestation of YOUR Esther from within you. A true Esther knows not only how to win the heart of her king but also how to keep it; how to understand and arrest his moods and how to influence his decisions without manipulating him. Knowing that it is a CURSE for her to desire to CONTROL him
9. She is an instrument of God unto him, steering him to fulfill his destiny and purpose, for THIS too is her own TRUE purpose. As his vision becomes her vision in marriage and the two must work together in agreement; for his downfall will entangle her along as Eve
10. Dearly beloved, I am but a son of man triggered by the love in his heart; moved by a calling in his spirit. I am but a vessel inspired by God to put pen to paper.

Love from me…

Nigeria is not Abuja

WHEN the military in the 1970s created Abuja, they wanted a city that will represent the new Nigeria, which they hoped to nurture; a city devoid of the congestion of Lagos, the then capital of Nigeria; a city with good roads network, good and well planned housing schemes and settlements; a city that will be the seat of the Federal Government, while others remain the seat of other governments; a secured and protected and fortified city. Abuja was to be the paradise.

In order for Abuja to manifest, the Land Use Decree was promulgated, the civil service structure was adjusted, the Federal Government did all to see that Abuja came to stay, and they achieved it. Today Abuja is standing tall as a glorious manifestation of the good dreams of a few good Nigerians for Nigeria.

If the military could do it at that time, why can’t civilians build us more cities like Abuja? Why can’t we build such cities in every geo-political zone of Nigeria? If not, why not for the centenary celebrations memorabilia? One wonders when you hear comments like Nigeria  cannot afford to build an ultra-modern seaport in the South East; that the South East cannot get an international airport, be it for cargo or passenger; that the national rail line cannot reach all state capitals of Nigeria; that we cannot build fertilizer plants, factories and refineries; that we are finding it difficult to manufacture cars and vehicles, and now we cannot fund the payment to lecturers for the education of our future generation, and we now prefer to throw sands in the air than till the land. I ask, where did we miss it all ? Is it that we now have leaders who lack the will, or we have become a people who take whatever is shoved down our throat?

In Nigeria, where money follows the seat of power, Abuja is the place to be. All the roads are smooth, with traffic lights, with all sorts of exotic cars to grace the roads, and as a result, most leaders in Abuja now think that the only way to help Nigerians create jobs is to punish them for desiring imported cars. In a short while, import tariffs on vehicles will be increased, in the name of encouraging local manufacturing of vehicles. Nigerians do not know how many vehicles these people will produce in a specified period, and there is no phased tariff increment to match an expected or agreed production targets. Importation of cars will be reduced or discouraged, Customs will be richer, businesses will die. Many of them will be pushed into buses and Keke Napep, yet buses are not allowed in Abuja while Keke is allowed because Southerners don’t ride Keke in Abuja, they owned most of the buses. The importers that would be hit most will be the struggling ones, mostly Ndigbo, no thanks to the fake life in Abuja. A life that is far from the reality under which most Nigerians live.

In Abuja, there is fairly regular power supply, so much so that some hotels rely on PHCN power to sell their rooms, yet there are no hotels with humble rates in Abuja. While N7,500 will get you a decent accommodation in a hotel across the nation, you won’t find such easily in Abuja. They charge high rates with poor services because “this is Abuja”.

The work force and small business people in Abuja come from villages or small towns around, like Nyanya, Lugbe, Kuje, Kubwa, Maraba and new Nyanya in Nasarawa State, while others come from even smaller settlements like Durumi, Kabusa, Mabushi, Garki Village and Mpape, to name a few. The link roads to these areas are perpetually under traffic grid lock during the day. The city therefore has developed gardens that are well and beautifully lit in the nights.They mostly sell drinks of all sorts, and just small chops. These are where the work force go to hang out while waiting for the traffic jam to their villages to thin out. These spots have become nesting grounds for immorality. Married persons walk in boldly with younger persons of opposite sex and their body language is simple: “This is Abuja”.

In Abuja, everybody is important because they know somebody who is important. It is either they are connected with top civil servants who these days are very rich people, or to some legislator who do not look at the price tags to buy whatever they fancy, or to the Presidency, or to one chief of Police, Customs, military or the other. On their phones they talk of billions of naira; the students are the poor ones who chase millions. Try taking them on by asking to visit their homes, their big Oga immediately calls and orders them to get ready to fly to Dubai, London or Lagos, depending on what time of the day. They are all mostly fake people.

Abuja indeed has a way of making those who live there feel that they own Nigeria, and that the beat must go on, with the “no wahala mentality”. This is perhaps what causes them to come up with policies which do not impact the lives of the ordinary Nigerian positively. They wake up and find light so they think there is light in Nigeria. They write a note or make a phone call, and a relation is absorbed into the civil service, so they think there is no unemployment. They get onto the road, it is smooth, they think Nigeria has good roads; they find cheap taxis and assume Nigeria does not need buses; their students carry super handsets and Ipads, so they think what the farmer needs is mobile phones. Abuja is not Nigeria, if anything it is a representation of the fake life of the true Nigerian. Most Nigerian state capitals still have bad roads, power failures, lack of jobs, poverty, lack of money, and security as big issues

The Pincer strategy used to defeat Biafra

What came your way yesterday in this intriguing tale of 3MCDO operations during the war was how Alabi-Isama and Akinrinade parted ways with their commander, Col. Adekunle. The incidents eventually led to Adekunle being relieved of command, and Col. Obasanjo taking over. Obasanjo blundered into his first battle, sustaining heavy casualties, and recoursed to the Pincer strategies earlier canvassed, but which he ignored. READ ON.

The Pincer strategies

My suggested strategy was, first for the Sector HQ to move forward to Ohoba nearer the beleaguered 16 Bde immediately, then to start what I called Operations Pincer 1, 2 or 3, one of which will not only relieve 16 Bde of pressure but end the war at the same time.  the war front, and he was completely frustrated like most of us. However, we had to realize that Uli Ihiala was the most important part of Biafra at that time. So, I invited Akinrinade to my Uyo HQ to discuss the “Pincer Strategy” after which Akinrinade and I went to discuss with Ayo Ariyo in Calabar; but Ariyo was no more interested. He led us into Port Harcourt during the 30-day advance, he held Port Harcourt until Adekunle returned finally to the war front, and he was completely frustrated like most of us.

We were not sure of what was inside the house; maybe it was even bugged. So, we came outside to discuss and to study the map. However, Ayo Ariyo listened to the plans, the strategy and the tactics of Operations Pincer 1, 2 and 3, he made some corrections and adjustments to the plans, and reminded me that all these had been discussed before we left Calabar a year ago, since April 1968, and only needed some adjustments, as the situation had changed. He was right, and he also told us that he had trained another 200 recruits that could be made available; I also had about 250 and Akinrinade another 250 recruits who were trained locally. Our three sectors were solid and had not seen or experienced any Biafran counter-attack since they were routed in our sectors at Aba, Ikot Ekpene and Calabar. We intensified training in all respects; from drivers training to medical, first aid, weapons training, snipers training, artillery and mortar training.

 Akinrinade and Alabi-Isama working out the Pincer strategieson their maps

Akinrinade and Alabi-Isama working out the Pincer strategies on their maps

We sent long range patrols, and had plotted all known Biafran troop positions, defences, their re-supply routes, including obstacles en-route Uli Ihiala which was the “Centre Of Gravity” of Biafra’s war effort at that time. Only Sector 1 had problems which were of their own making; it was just a blunder. Any new reinforcements sent to 1 Sector merely fizzled away into Ohoba/Owerri road, just to die or be wounded. The hospitals were filled up at Port Harcourt with Owerri front casualties. The situation needed a new plan and strategy, not conventional warfare, which was just frontal, brutal and got so many dead, especially in a situation where we could have defeated the Biafrans mentally before they were defeated physically.

Further to Obasanjo’s reorganization, Major S.S Tomoye who was my deputy in Sector 3, was moved to Akinrinade’s 17Bde in Aba. Prior to his redeployment, Tomoye was deputy and Brigade Major at 13 Bde in Uyo. He also knew about Ops Pincer 1, 2 and 3. As a matter of fact, he helped draw all the maps and organize the training related to the final battle for the capture of Biafra’s centre of gravity at Uli Ihiala. We were no longer in the riverine war theatre, so tactics needed to change as we expected heavy casualties, which necessitated more training for the Medical Evacuation Team on how to evacuate casualties under heavy fire. I was transferred to Enugu while Major George Innih was transferred to take over my 13 Bde in Uyo. The plan looked good even if he made it seem as though this latter change was designed to replace the “enemy” that commanded 13 Bde.

It was okay by me as long as the entire Brigade knew about ops Pincer 1,2 and 3, and the troops that fought so hard and well from Calabar to Port Harcourt did not just die like chicken in the hand of an inexperienced commander; but the casualties kept coming in an alarming rate.

Plan of Op Pincer 1, which Obasanjo preferred

Plan of Op Pincer 1, which Obasanjo preferred

However, Obasanjo’s aim in reorganizing the Division as he did was to ensure that as GSO1 Akinrinade would still be able to control his old 17 Bde under the new command of Major Tomoye as well as the 13 Bde. But there was a snag. Of all the Pincer options, the one Obasanjo had preference for was Operation Pincer 1 which was the bloodiest, and the one rejected by the Army HQ as well as 3MCDO under Adekunle. And to canvass support for his choice, he went to 1 Division himself to brief Col. Bisalla on Pincer 1. Bisalla was not in Enugu at the time, so he spoke with Lt. Col. Danjuma who received him warmly but could not take a decision on the issue. Obasanjo also got in touch with 2 Division on the same subject.

However, when Bisalla returned to base in Enugu and looked at the bloody implication of Operation Pincer 1 he rejected the plan. That was how God saved Nigeria and Biafra from what would have been a senseless massacre that would have forever blighted the conduct of the civil war, and the image of Nigeria. To give a picture of the enormity of the possible consequences of Op. Pincer 1, you just have to think of a people trapped and surrounded by 1 and 2 Divisions, of the Nigeria Army, and the 3MCDO; all of them advancing simultaneously with tank, artillery and air support bombardment. Could Nigeria have been able to justify the aftermath? But that was Obasanjo’s preference, which practically every body in the command structure of the entire Nigerian army rejected. Since he had to settle for Pincer 2, innocent refugees, women and children, including the aged and disabled trapped in what was left of Biafra were thus saved from the horror of the devastation that would have been their fate if Obasanjo had had his way.

My modest estimate is that if Operation Pincer 1 had been executed there would have been a total of only slightly over a million Ibos left in Nigeria today. And there would have been no way we could absolve ourselves from heavy responsibility of what could truly have been genocide. In the final analysis, Obasanjo and Bisalla met at a meeting in Lagos where Bisalla had to explain why he could not accept to go along with Operation Pincer 1. In restrospect, he showed same brutal force in Odi, Bayelsa State in November 20, 1999 when he was civilian president.

Gen Hassan Usman Katsina, who became the Chief of Staff (Army) in May 1968, was briefed on Operations Pincer 1, 2 and 3 during his visit to 3MCDO in July 1968 after the capture of Port Harcourt. That was when 3MCDO started going astray with Adekunle’s operation OAU. In particular, after the fall of Owerri and Aba, the disastrous effort to take Umuahia in early October 1968 (secretly approved by Gowon and SHQ) rather than focus on Uli as approved by AHQ, brought things to a head. According to his memoirs, in mid-October 1968 the GSO1 at the AHQ, Col. Oluleye visited 3MCDO HQ in Port Harcourt and subsequently raised the possibility of creating a 4MCDO from the 3MCDO as an option to sending Adekunle on leave or replacing him altogether. But Gowon was not convinced yet. I was told about Oluleye’s visit; I did not know about it.

Bisalla rejects Obasanjo's Pincer 1 operation

Bisalla rejects Obasanjo’s Pincer 1 operation

Col. Obasanjo was finally convinced that OP Pincer 2 was the way to go at last. It was not the only way to do it, as there were other methods of achieving the same result, but definitely not the initial way we had gone about it.
When I saw his confused look which suggested doubt, disbelief, and a lack of comprehension, I explained again, using the same map. All the 3MCDO problems were in Sector 1. Let us stop the blame game and get on with it. I further explained, by going into details as follows using the same map :-

*The remaining 16 Bde should be beefed up to strength, to defend their present position to disallow further Biafran advance across their defence line.

*19 Bde commanded by Maj Aliyu, should also be beefed up to strength to take up defensive positions where they were.

*15 Bde that was still at Omoku, should also be brought up to strength, and, with an extra Battalion, should advance to Uli Ihiala, passing through Ebocha,Mbebe, to Izombe, Mgbidi, with Oguta to the left. The extra Battalion would be left to defend Izombe, to avoid troops at Oguta from interfering with the advance of the main body of 15 Bde advancing to Mgbidi. They would bypass Owerri to the right, as we did not need Owerri. Otamiri River would be on the Battalion’s left flank.

*Then, 12, 14, and 17 Bdes under the command of Akinrinade, should advance from their present Sector HQ at Aba, to Inyiogugu, with Owerri to the left, aiming for Orlu. I also explained that 3MCDO never fought in the towns. We always bypassed them, surprising Biafran troops that expected us to fight inside the towns and villages, on the streets, including perhaps house-to-house fighting, which we avoided by all means. Based on the projections, I predicted that Akinrinade would take Uli-Ihiala in exactly seven days of crossing the start line at “H” hour.(5). We were lucky, I continued, that 1 Division had captured Okigwe in Oct. 1968, followed by Umuahia in April 1969, (which was two months before this briefing). Col. Obasanjo himself arrived in May 1969 three weeks after Umuahia was captured. 13 Bde, which was in my sector was already the largest of all the Brigades, and was well beefed up, ready to go. 13 Bde, therefore, would link up with 1 Division at Umuahia, and thence, advance along both sides of the river to RV right of Akinrinade at Urualla to take Nnewi (Ojukwu’s home town), behind Uli-Ihiala.

*18 Bde, another brigade in Sector 3, would hold its position at Itu and be prepared to enter Arochukwu, should the Biafran troops in Arochukwu move against Pincer troops of 13 Bde. A battalion each was still standing by at Obubra, Ugep, and at Ikot Okpora, under the command of Lt Col Ignatius Obeya, who was the Commander of 18 Bde, should the Biafrans move against Calabar instead.

*The worst scenario was if Biafran troops in Arochukwu moved towards Calabar, which was our own Centre of Gravity. In that case, the battalion at Ikot Okpora would engage them before they cross the river at Ikot Okpora. The role of 18 Bde would not change, they would enter Arochukwu behind the Biafrans. Either way, a dilemma would be created for Biafran troops at Arochukwu if they ever moved. Their best bet was to do nothing. Col. Obasanjo then took a good look at the map and the plan again, while Col. (Fr.) Pedro Martins laughed, and said that he was impressed. When in 2009, Mr. Kayode Williams and I went to see Fr. Martins at his Victoria Island residence in Lagos for his 90th birthday belated greetings, he remembered everything in detail as related to the Operation Pincer 2 briefing in Port Harcourt. It was incredible.

Op Pincer 2 plan, renamed Op Tailwind

Op Pincer 2 plan, renamed Op Tailwind

But Col Obasanjo preferred Op Pincer 1, despite all advice against it.

He then went about contacting the other two Divisions. Fortunately, the Pincer 1 idea was turned down by both Col. Bisalla of 1 Division and Col. Jalo of 2 Division. Col Bisalla’s point was very valid; he said there would be too much blood and that the aim of the war was not to exterminate the Ibo people or permanently change their culture by us occupying Iboland. I was impressed. I took the picture of their meeting. It was then that he had a rethink on Op Pincer 2. It was at this time that Col Obasanjo suddenly transferred me to I Division at Enugu.

The final battle (Final execution of Op Pincer 2)

I will explain here how Op Pincer 2 was finally executed when the officers were tired of line straightening operations which yielded no positive results except more casualties. Since all the units were already in position, and battle ready, the final battle started. As early as 0600 hours on 22 December 1969, 17 Bde under Maj SS Tomoye fired the first shot. He advanced to the right flank in order to be able to link up with 1 Division troops already at Umuahia since April 1969. This was what was expected of 13 Bde, but he did not move because he was not part of the line straightening operation; but since Akinrinade had decided to advance without 13 Bde, he did not bother.

The gap between Owerri and Umuahia was important because the Biafran troops that were dislodged by 1 Division at Umuahia had not settled down to defend their new locations. The Biafran troops also did not expect the move between the gaps. They were expecting that the old conventional, mundane tactics of hitting one’s head in a frontal attack as in Ohoba and thence to Owerri was what would happen. They, therefore, tied down most of their troops defending Owerri, for a show down with 3MCDO. So, they dug-in at Owerri, and in depth. It was expected to be the Mother of all battles at Owerri.

*Briefing in Port Harcourt. From left, Obeya, Gen Katsina (hands on knees), Alabi Isama, and Obasanjo

*Briefing in Port Harcourt. From left, Obeya, Gen Katsina (hands on knees), Alabi Isama, and Obasanjo

16 Bde commanded by Maj Utuk, who was still itching to take revenge on Owerri was not allowed to advance, while 19 Bde commanded by Maj. Aliyu was in defensive position to tie down Biafran troops at Owerri. With devastating 122 mm Artillery bombardment, directed at Owerri and Ohoba, the Biafran troops had no more doubt that 3MCDO was coming again, and they were ready for the mother of all battles.

Then 15 Bde commanded by Maj Iluyomade, who liked to salute like Hitler, moved into the gap between Oguta and Owerri to the left from Omoku, capturing Izombe, with Orashi River to his left which later flows right to his front.

That again further confirmed that 3MCDO would try to go back to Oguta. Therefore, Biafran attention was directed at Oguta and Owerri axes, while 14 Bde commanded by Maj Ola Oni to the left, and 12 Bde commanded by Isemede in the center advanced through the gap between Owerri to the left, and Umuahia to the right.

At this time, 13 Bde commanded by Maj George Innih had moved right from Ikot Ekpene towards Itu to what Obasanjo called passing through operation to capture Arochukwu. George Innih’s route is marked in red on the map. That distance alone is about 100 miles on a very bad road. To use the phrase used by Obasanjo in his book, he was to swing left towards Umuahia. That distance is another 100 miles from Arochukwu, and another 100 miles or more to Uli Ihiala, the Divisional objective.

When Akinrinade did not see him for four days, they continued the advance without him and his 13 Bde. On my birthday, 24th December 1969, Akinrinade and Tomoye linked up with 1 Division at Umuahia. They greeted me for my birthday and told me that it was my birthday present. That was cool, but I was biting my finger, wishing I was on the advance with them. We were running a commentary like a soccer match. On Christmas day 25th December 1969, I sent a message to the COSA in Lagos to say that Obasanjo went to Arochukwu and so did the 13 Bde with about 3,000 men going the wrong way. COSA then sent a signal message to Obasanjo to concentrate on Uli-Ihiala and nowhere else. Obasanjo then wrote in his book that he wondered how COSA knew about his move to Arochukwu. By the time he got the message, Akinrinade had ended the war by capturing Uli Ihiala. At this time, with Inyiogugu to their left, 12,14,and 17 Bdes under Akinrinade’s command (The Coordinator) then had 1 Division at Umuahia look after their right flank, which made the advance faster without having to wait anymore for 13 Bde. Akinrinade did not have air support, because the Count Von Rosen inquiry was still going on in Port Harcourt.

Alabi-Isama explains strategy to Obasanjo: We will divide the enemy into two enclaves to cause panic in their ranks especially the Arochukwu enclave that will not be able to receive supplies and communicate with its Biafran HQ at Uli Ihiala. The gesture of my right hand had said it all.

Alabi-Isama explains strategy to Obasanjo: We will divide the enemy into two enclaves to cause panic in their ranks especially the Arochukwu enclave that will not be able to receive supplies and communicate with its Biafran HQ at Uli Ihiala. The gesture of my right hand had said it all.

By the 5th of January 1969,14 Bde was at Amaraka, 12 Bde was at Umuna, while Tomoye’s 17 Bde passed through to take Umuzoma, and Urualla. From the right flank, the “Dream Team” was threatening Orlu from two flanks, having crossed Imo River, and were to enter Uli Ihiala by night fall.

By Thursday of 8th January 1969, Tomoye described the situation that they were not firing anymore, as there were too many refugees and too many Biafran troops just dropping their weapons and running, while some managed to enter their vehicles and drive fast away from the war front. They told all those that raised their hands up in surrender to just go home. They did not capture any POW. Casualties were light on both sides. Artillery could not be used beyond Owerri because of the enveloping troops from 12, 14 and 17 Bdes that were already behind enemy lines. By morning of Friday 9th January, 1970, Tomoye radioed to say that he thought the war was over as the Biafran troops were not fighting anymore. Beware of stray bullets, I shouted, and I asked after Maj. Innih. Tomoye had heard that his troops were at Owerri. I trusted that Akinrinade would not allow troops to enter the towns, which is why he warned Edet Utuk to remain in defence, and not enter Owerri. With his annoyance over what happened during the seven month siege, Utuk, might have the tendency to kill for revenge.

Very early in the morning of Tuesday 13th January 1970, a Biafran officer called Achuzia, with white handkerchief, crawled towards 17 Bde position, and was captured and taken to Lt. Col Akinrinade. He introduced himself as Col Achuzia, and that he was sent by Gen. Effiong and all the officers of Biafran Army to surrender to the commander of the Federal troops, and to invite the Commander to come and meet the Biafran officers somewhere few yards away, where they had gathered to surrender. The town was called Amichi, and that they were all waiting at a house there.

At first Akinrinade did not want to go but later he agreed and Maj Tomoye accompanied him. Before they left, they left orders with their troops that if in two hours they were not back, or nothing heard from them, the entire place must be leveled to the ground.

So, they left with Achuzia who we had wanted to kill in Port Harcourt if we got him, for killing Chief Halley Day, the owner of The Silver Valley Hotel at Port Harcourt. When we were young officers, before the war, we used to travel to Port Harcourt to stay at the Silver Valley Hotel because we were friends of Chief Halley Day’s children. Akinrinade of course then remembered that we should not kill anyone that looked at us in the face.

Akinrinade then told him that we were looking for him and that the meeting that they were going to should be worth it. Achuzia took Akinrinade and Tomoye to a house nearby, where they met Achuzia’s European wife, and Achuzia broke kola nuts with the usual Ibo traditional welcoming ceremony. Well, so far so good, after which they then went to meet all Biafran officers seated and waiting to surrender to the two officers- Akinrinade and Tomoye. Akinrinade met all of them including some of our classmates like Gbulie and others. It was then that Akinrinade sent word to Obasanjo that Biafran troops had surrendered to him and his men if he would like to come and see. I was still on the RS301 Operation Radio with some officers, listening to our commentary-like discussions with Tomoye’s radio operator.

It was then that Obasanjo, the GOC of 3 MCDO started looking for his officers. It took him four hours to drive from PH to Amichi.

CONCLUDED.

And That’s Why Career Girls Shouldn’t Get Married

And That’s Why Career Girls Shouldn’t Get Married

by The Best o fAlexandra

Posted as part of the Breaking News:  Journalism in Classic Film Blogathon, hosted by Comet Over Hollywood.

As everyone knows, career women (especially in classic films) are a rare breed of diseased characters who need to be cured through domestication.  Once married to a good man, a (former) career woman presumably lives a normal life, inoculated against her unnatural occupational fixations with the wholesome combination of kids and dogs and bacon and eggs and draperies.

However, not many films explore how this domestication might actually play out.  Crime of Passion (1957) starring Barbara Stanwyck, Sterling Hayden, and Perry Mason (Raymond Burr, that is) takes the career woman character to her logical–and tragic–end.

First a Synopsis

Our story begins with a newspaper truck barreling through San Francisco.  On the side we see this advertisement.

Read Kathy Ferguson

So we see this picture of our protagonist, Kathy Ferguson, and we see she’s one of those “Dear Abby” type columnists, and we’re probably supposed to think she’s all soft and feminine and sympathetic and all that.

And then we cut to the newsroom, where Barbara Stanwyck is Barbara Stanwyck-ing around, wearing practical clothes, trading wry witticisms with coworkers, and generally showing she’s not as prissy as we might imagine a ladies’ columnist to be.

Her editor sends her out to get a scoop on “the Dana woman”–a woman accused of killing her husband in Los Angeles and holing up someplace in San Francisco–and write a piece from some lady angle.  She at first does not want to go because she’s got other stuff to do, but he says they can just run some of her trash from last month and nobody will notice.  She reluctantly goes to the pressroom at the police station or wherever, and everybody’s on a personhunt for “the Dana woman,” including two detectives from Los Angeles–Captian Alidos and Lieutenant Doyle (Sterling Hayden).  Alidos tells her point blank, “Your job should be raising a family and having dinner ready for your husband.”  This is her response:

Et tu, Sterling Hayden

I, for one, would not want to be on the receiving end of that look.

Her next response is to write a series of open letters to “the Dana woman,” the first of which reads thus:

Dear Mary Dana,

I write from the heart of one woman to the heart of another.  Now you are deserted by him in whom you have placed all your faith and all your love, when we are alone, woman tortured by fate, betrayed by all men, where can we turn except to the heart and understanding of another woman who knows what you’re suffering?

I feel for you.  I suffer with you.  I want to help you.  Let me stand by your side in your fight for justice and compassion in a world made by men and for men.

Call me, Mary Dana, and we will face the world together.  Call me.

A montage of of different women read this, and the montage ends with a phone ringing a lot.  So, her ploy works, and Mary Dana tells her where she’s been hiding.  The detectives ask her about this, and Alidos wants to hold her in custody until she tells what she knows.  She sends him out on a wild goose chase and attempts to give the intel to Doyle, but he’s a goody two-shoes.  He explains himself with this little speech:

But I just try to do my job the best way I can, try not to poke the other fellow in the eye with my elbow while I’m doing it.

She says he’s never going to get very far this way and wonders how many times he’s been elbowed in the eye.  But his goodness wins out, and he and his partner collar the woman.

Later, Doyle and Ferguson go out on a date and discuss murder (which is how all good dates go, right?).  Ferguson–hard-bitten career spinster–is convinced Dana just didn’t use her brains about murdering her husband, but Doyle contends that murder isn’t about brains but passion.  Bum bum bum!

Ferguson also goes on to say that she’s never going to get married because she wants more out of life than second mortgages.

Two scenes later, she and Doyle get married.

5 All this wallpaper

And they move into his place, which has a plethora of awful wallpaper, but Kathy doesn’t mind because she’s so in love with him (read: wants to get in his pants big time, according to all the innuendo about not needing more than one suitcase of clothing).

They immediately settle into domestic life filled with cops-and-cops’-wives parties, which, according to this movie, are the worst and consist of idle gossip about Chief Inspector Pope and discussions about pensions, which has never been the case at any cop party I’ve ever been to.  Every cop party I’ve ever been to has been mostly stories about being undercover in ridiculous situations, jumping out of helicopters, and beating up gangsters.  I digress.

Several scenes of her hating domesticity and having anxiety attacks over the mundanity of beaded tops and poker games ensue, and she finally–in the middle of the night, smoking in a gorgeous robe–lashes out at him:

Don’t you have any ambition?! . . . I want you to be somebody!  Not for my sake but for yours!

And, of course, she decides to take matters into her own hands.

 

"Looks like it's time for an insane plot!"

“Looks like it’s time for an insane plot!”

She begins her insane plot by getting into a car wreck with the Inspector Pope’s wife, thereby forging a friendship that gets her invited to all the best parties.

Next, she begins flirting with the inspector, who suspects she engineered the car wreck.

Then, she has manicures with Mrs. Pope, who divulges that she’s not in good health, and begins planning surprise birthday parties with her.

Her plan continues by not inviting Captain Alidos and his annoying, cloying, suck-up wife.

At the birthday party, she flirts more with Inspector Pope and has a weird see-through purse that came back into style again for a minute in the late ’90s.

 

This invisible purse

Pictured L-R: Perry Mason, Barbara Stanwyck; A purse I owned in 6th grade

Inspector Pope totally has her number on not inviting the captain, and he banters with her about her being a career woman at heart:

Inspector:  Doing anything now?
Kathy:  Only what every other wife does.
Inspector:  Not you . . . That [former career woman] you isn’t going to make a very easy settlement with life.

They’re all flirty about it, but it’s kind of ominous and thematically relevant, of course.  They then agree to meet and look at files of “normal people” who have committed horrible crimes.  Kinky.

The next scene, they’re looking at these files of people pushed to the brink, and Kathy notices they’re mostly women.  Inspector Pope comments,  “Women only reason with life just so far.  Frustration often leads to violence.”  They flirt ominously a little more, and they both seem to know that the other is ruthless.  Again they bring up the “change” thing, and Pope claims he’s changed a lot since he first started on the force, but Kathy says he hasn’t and that he’s always known who he is and what he is.

The next stage of Kathy’s plan is the most manipulative yet.  She implores Doyle to leave the LAPD and go to Beverly Hills because it’s “less dangerous” and she super worried about him all the time.

And, of course, he ends up being asked to stay on the force personally by Inspector Pope.  Cha ching!

He gets kind of a promotion thing and has to be out of town a lot, and when he gets home one day, Kathy makes sure to leave this note lying around for him to see, which implicates her and Pope in some kind of affair.  We don’t know whether this note is real or fake (I think it’s probably bogus), but she says she doesn’t know who wrote it but she suspects either Captain Alidos (who’s been pissy with Doyle since he wasn’t invited to the birthday party) or his wife (who’s admittedly pretty terrible).

Doyle gets all upset about it and storms into the squadroom where he punches Alidos square in the eye.

They have a little trial in Pope’s office, with Alidos, Doyle, and the two cop witnesses, who both saw Alidos reach for his gun before Doyle was even through the door.

Pope decides the whole thing would just make everybody look bad, so he considers the matter closed because they both acted equally like idiots.  The next day, Captain Alidos is in a different division, and Lieutenant Doyle is the acting captain of homicide.  Cha ching!

And finally the last phase of Kathy’s plan kinda sneaks up on her.  One night when Doyle’s gone detecting, Inspector Pope shows up at her door telling her his wife’s in the hospital because of tension.  The only cure is for him to retire.

Which means he needs to name a successor to his job.

 

Cha ching!

So Kathy does what any good conniving wife would do:  sleep with her husband’s boss to get him a promotion!  Cha ching!

Except not cha ching.  The next day, she finds out Pope’s putting Alidos on the list of replacements because he doesn’t think Doyle’s good enough.  He suggests they forget all the unfortunate extra-marital shenanigans ever took place.

Later, Kathy and Doyle are at the fights, and she looks pretty crappy–consumed with guilt and all that.  He’s suddenly called away to interrogate some people, and they go to the station, where the two guns from the robbery/murder are just kinda hanging out on a cart because they haven’t been taken to property and evidence yet.

So, of course, Kathy steals one of the guns and goes to Pope’s house.  She begs him to, at most, mention Doyle’s name for the promotion or, at least, not mention Alidos’s name.  She needs him to do this to justify her own odious actions, but he’s not having any of it.

So she does what any good conniving wife would do.

Worst night ever

Yep, she shoots him dead and drives crazily home and hops into bed at the last moment to pretend she’s been sleeping all night.

Doyle is in charge of the ensuing murder investigation and ends ups CSI-ing the slugs from the robbery/murder and Pope’s murder.  He’s questioning the arresting officer and the desk sergeant, etc. about how there should be two guns in property and evidence from that robbery/murder but there’s only one.

Meanwhile, Kathy is milling around in her housedress looking awful and feeling awful because she remembers that she was friends with Pope’s wife, who must be feeling super, super awful right now.

And then as Doyle is sitting questioning everybody, it dawns on him who had the most immediate access to the missing gun.

 

Well, shoot

Cha ching 😦

He goes home to question Kathy, and she cops to it.  She tearfully pleads with him that it was all for him and that now they all know what a great detective he is and she kinda wants him to maybe not turn her in, but he says he’s “the same cop you met in Frisco.”

Of course, nobody’s changed.  He’s still a goody two-shoes.

And they take the walk of shame down the homicide corridor.

Walk of shame

The end.

The Career

Throughout the movie, we get a lot of commentary on what careers women should have and what roles women should play.

We start with how Kathy Ferguson is a ladies’ columnist.  She disdains this job.  In her first scene, another journalist is talking to her about the people who write to her, using pseudonyms like “Lonely in Atlanta” or whatever.  The dude asks her something to the effect of, “Aren’t there any ‘Joyful’s in the world?”  She says, “Not if I can help it.”

She sees her position as one that makes money.  She doesn’t care so much about helping these people as perpetuating her own column.  She is ruthless in this way.

When her editor asks her to go out on what might be seen as a larger story, a better story, she also disdains this assignment.  She doesn’t like being assigned.  She likes doing what she wants to do in the way she wants to do it, and her own column gives her a small freedom in this way.

She also doesn’t like being told what she ought to be doing by Captain Alidos.  Many of her later spiteful actions stem directly from this first interaction.

But when it comes down to actually writing the story that helps capture the murderess, she does exactly what her editor had suggested: write from a woman’s angle.  However, he had suggested she write about how Dana had killed the man because she loved him or loved him because she killed him or some sentimental hogwash.

Instead, Kathy goes for the feminist jugular:  We’re in this together, sister.  Men suck, and I get you, girl.

She follows her editor’s rules in some ways, but bends them to her will.  She has a plan, and she uses whatever tools she has in her arsenal (feminist rage and a way with a pen) to enact said plan.

So what Inspector Pope later says to her is exactly right.  Marriage hasn’t changed her.  She’s got a new plan, but she’s up to her old tricks: playing by some rules, bending some rules, outright breaking others.

And two things she had said in the beginning turn out to be right, too.  When she’d been talking with that other journalist, one of the letters was from a girl who wanted to run off with a married man.  Her flippant advice was that the girl should run off with the wife instead.  Kathy figures out too late that she really did have feelings of camaraderie and friendship with Pope’s wife.  She might’ve even contemplated that maybe she should’ve worked that angle longer.

The second thing is the feminist stuff she was feeding Dana:  it’s a world made by men and for men.  Kathy’s plan was going so well until she slept with Pope.  She thought her body could be bartered, and if things were fair, it could’ve been.  But he decided it wasn’t worth anything.  Even when men set up an exchange rate, they can change it at any time.  Women can’t even set the price of their own bodies, Kathy realizes.  Just like she couldn’t set the price of her own columns, which her editor publicized on the sides of trucks but thought was essentially garbage literarily.

In Conclusion

Kathy Ferguson was a career girl.  She said all the regular career girl stuff.  And she got married to a nice man, whom she loved very much.  She sacrificed for him and did all the regular wife stuff.  She should’ve been ok.

But she still had that driving career girl disease, the disease that kills not only the infected but those around the infected.

Scary stuff.

Don’t be a career girl.  Be a nice girl who likes to bake pies and bead lavender chiffon gowns and not think ever.

PS I’d like to see the sequel to this.  It could be a women-in-prison movie, and Ida Lupino could play the evil warden, and Lana Turner could be another murderess who bonds with Barbara Stanwyck and tries to plan an escape, but then the evil prison doctor (Vincent Price) finds out and holds Lana Turner’s son hostage until she sleeps with him, and then Ida Lupino figures out what’s been going on and kills him because she’s in love with him and jealous of Lana Turner.  It could be called Crime of Passion 2:  Prison of Passion.  Actually, no.  That sounds like a porno.  Gross.

How to read the signs of a lying partner

Are you being lied to?

First thing’s first . . .listen to your instincts!

Knowing whether you are being lied to or not, does not require mind reading or psychic power. Understanding the difference between the truth and a lie can all be determined by a person’s behavior, and if you pay attention to these behaviors, you will be able to have a better idea of whether you are being lied to or not. The most important thing you should always remember to do however is to trust your instincts. If you feel you are not getting the entire truth from your partner for some reason, then listen to your instincts. Most people are in good touch with their instincts, but rather not listen to that inner voice because they refuse to believe that their partnersigns of lying would deceive them in any way. Staying in touch with your instincts will help guide you in the right direction.

Though instincts are a great help, they can be tricky. Majority of the times, your instincts will not lie to you, but there are times when your instincts can be influenced by your fears and insecurities. For example, you may already have fears of being cheated on, therefore you may feel that your partner is lying to you and cheating on you, when in fact he or she may be telling you the truth and completely faithful to you. This is why it is essential to understand the behavior of a liar, so that you can define the difference between really catching on to a liar, or just being paranoid that your partner is lying to.

Watch the Body Language

One important thing to remember is that the body never lies. If there are changes in the way your partner moves (or does not movie) his/her arms, hands, head and the way his/her eyes shift, then you are most likely being lied to. The reason the body language changes when a person is lying is because the person now has to think of a way to seem convincing that he/she is telling the truth. Since he/she knows that whatever they are telling you is a lie, the behavior automatically changes because they are now trying to act truthful, instead of actually being truthful. One big sign to look out for is in the eyes. If your partner avoids eye contact with you, then he/she is lying to you. There is a fear that you will see through him or her if there is eye contact, so eye contact will be avoided. Whether you realize it or not, your body also communicates when you talk. When you are enthusiastic about telling your partner something and are telling the truth, you will move your hands around and will look into his/her eyes to make a connection. If your partner is lying however, he or she will tense up, will most likely tone down on the hand movement and eye connection and will seem different than other times. If your partner is the type to still move his/her hands around even when he/she is lying, then pay attention to the timing of the movements. Timing is everything and can define the difference between the truth and a lie. When a person is telling the truth for example, his/her hands (and whatever body movement he/she does) will move at the same time when telling you something. When he/she is lying however, the body language will be off and will usually come shortly after he/she has told you the lie. This is because they have to think about acting natural, and this thinking causes them to be off key.

Last but not Least: Clearing of the throat, touching him or herself often and saying “Umm”

Another sign of a lying partner is if he/she touch his/her nose or face a lot while talking to you. They will feel nervous about telling you lies and will want to occupy their hands somehow as a way to cover up their lie, such as touching the nose, rubbing their eyes and so on. Your partner may even clear his or her throat more than usual when talking to you, look away a lot and/or say “umm” a lot when lying to you. They are using these as time killers so they can think of how to tell you the lie in the most convincing way possible. These are just some of the signs of a lying partner and are the most common signs. Remember, it is always important to trust your instincts first. If you feel that your partner is lying to you, start paying closer attention to his/her behavior and if there are any changes, then you will be able to catch on to the lies better and can further investigate from that point. Receive Love Advice and Professional Help.