Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Man Who Would Have Been President

You all remember this guy.   Al Gore.   The man who lost the 2000 Presidential election when he, as Maxwell Smart would say, "missed it by that much."  Like Hillary Clinton later on, here's another Democratic candidate who blamed everybody but himself for his loss.  He ran a bad campaign, pure and simple.  I mean, like Hillary should have done to Trump, Al Snore shoulf have easily trounced the lummox that is George W. Bush.

But, as you well know, Gore parlayed that into another cottage industry which has become the equivalent of Microsoft when it comes to championed causes. Global warming.  This guy is the expert and his documentary about ten years ago was the great thing since sliced bread.  As a result, he won an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy, the Nobel Peace Prize, and probably came in third for that season's "American Idol."

Well, knowing a good thing when he sees it, Gore has jumped on again to try and duplicate all those platitudes with a sequel called "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power."  Hey, if there can be nine or ten editions of "Fast and Furious," why not this?

Okay, don't search these blog pages for a Len review of this movie.   You won't find it.  I have better things to do with my time than seeing a reiteration of why it gets hot during the summer and cold during the winter.  Nor is this going to be a revisit to the notion that Al Gore needs to practice what he preaches.   It is well known and documented that his Tennessee mansion is one of the greatest wasters of energy in the country.  

Nope.  I'm not going to get into a general trashing of Gore here.   I just want to pose a very basic question.

As his sequel opened three weeks ago, I noticed a quite curious development in Los Angeles.  Gore was in town to promote it quite heavily.   And the way he was doing that was by making continuous appearances at the theaters that were running it.   Seriously.   He was at the Landmark one Saturday for five different Q and As.  I mean, that was reminiscent to me of my youthful days when Moe, Larry, and Curly Joe kept showing up at my local RKO to promote "Snow White and the Three Stooges."

Except the very next weekend Gore was back at the Arclight doing another strenuous schedule of appearances.

Hmmmm.

Now I understand he wants to promote the film heavily.   But, the ultra-liberal Hollywood already has the lion's share of people who will run out to it. Even if he didn't show up at all, the box office would be big with all the Tinseltown types who drove in their gas-guzzling Range Rovers to see it.

To me, Gore should be pushing his movie in the areas where he needs to get the most converts.  Norman, Oklahoma.  Prescott, Arizona.  Sioux Falls, South Dakota.   I mean, aren't the so-called Red States where Gore's message should be pushed most?   Those are the folks that aren't buying in.

That's the question I ask Al Gore.   How come?

But, then, moments later, the answer is as plain as the blue recycling bin in my garage.   This is nothing about global warming or making a difference.

How many Academy members are in Norman, Oklahoma?   How many Emmy voters are in Prescott, Arizona?  Does anybody even know what the Grammys are in Sioux Falls, South Dakota?

I got it now, Al Gore.  It isn't about the Ozone.  It's all about you.

Say hello to Tipper for me.   Oh, wait...

Dinner last night:   Chopped steak and vegetables.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

This Date in History - August 16

A particularly busy day in history, not to mention Julie "Catwoman" Newmar's birthday!  Meow!

1 BC:  WANG MANG CONSOLIDATES HIS POWER AND IS DECLARED MARSHAL OF STATE.

Love that name.   And dig that year.

1328:  THE HOUSE OF GONZAGA SEIZES POWER IN THE DUCHY OF MANTUA.

Well, that's just Duchy.

1780:  AMERICAN REVOLUTION - BATTLE OF CAMDEN.

Oddly, that's Camden, South Carolina, not New Jersey.

1793:  FRENCH REVOLUTION - A LEVEE EN MASSE IS DECREED.

Not sure what that is, but it sounds delicious.

1812:  WAR OF 1812 - AMERICAN GENERAL WILLIAM HULL SURRENDERS FORT DETROIT WITHOUT A FIGHT TO THE BRITISH ARMY.

Hull of a wimp.

1841:  US PRESIDENT JOHN TYLER VETOES A BILL WHICH CALLED FOR THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SECOND BANK OF THE US.  THIS LEADS TO THE MOST VIOLENT DEMONSTRATION ON WHITE HOUSE GROUNDS IN US HISTORY.

I am surely that will be surpassed very soon.

1858:  US PRESIDENT JAMES BUCHANAN INAUGURATES THE NEW TRANSATLANTIC TELEGRAPH CABLE BY EXCHANGING GREETINGS WITH QUEEN VICTORIA OF THE UNITED KINGDOM.

The Queen's response:  ROFLMAO.

1870:  DURING THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR, THE BATTLE OF MARS-LA-TOUR IS FOUGHT.

Prussia won...for those keeping count.

1891:  THE BASILICA OF SAN SEBASTIAN, MANILA, THE FIRST ALL-STEEL CHURCH IN ASIA, IS OFFICIALLY INAUGURATED AND BLESSED.

All steel?  Must be a bitch to kneel on those pews.

1913:  TOHOKU UNIVERSITY BECOMES THE FIRST UNIVERSITY IN JAPAN TO ADMIT FEMALE STUDENTS.

Somebody needed to pour the sake.

1920:  RAY CHAPMAN OF THE CLEVELAND INDIANS IS HIT ON THE HEAD BY A FASTBALL THROWN BY CARL MAYS OF THE NEW YORK YANKEES AND DIES THE FOLLOWING DAY.

Talk about an exit velocity.

1923:  THE UNITED KINGDOM GIVES THE NAME "ROSS DEPENDENCY" TO PART OF ITS CLAIMED ANTARCTIC TERRITORY.

In a way, Rachel on "Friends" also had a Ross Dependency.

1924:  ACTOR FESS PARKER IS BORN.

Davy...Davy Crockett.

1928:  ACTRESS ANN BLYTH IS BORN.

Still with us.  She played the despicable Vida in "Mildred Pierce."

1928:  SINGER EYDIE GORME IS BORN.

Paging Steve Lawrence.

1930:  ACTOR ROBERT CULP IS BORN.

He Spy.

1930:  SPORTSCASTER AND FOOTBALL STAR FRANK GIFFORD IS BORN.

There's an interesting sidelight to this fact that will pay off later on in this blog entry.  Be patient.

1930:  THE FIRST COLOR SOUND CARTOON "FIDDLESTICKS" IS MADE BY UB IWERKS.

Just love that name...Ub Iwerks.

1933:  ACTRESS JULIE NEWMAR IS BORN.

Still with us...and I hear she's nuts.

1945:  AN ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT IS MADE ON JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER KANTARO SUZUKI.

Ichiro's dad?

1946:  ACTRESS LESLEY ANN WARREN IS BORN.

My writing partner once found him seated next to her at a theater.   He stared at her.   She changed her seat at intermission.

1948:  BASEBALL STAR BABE RUTH DIES.

He ate a lot of hot dogs, smoke, and drank.   Yeah, that'll kill ya.

1953:  TV PERSONALITY KATHIE LEE GIFFORD IS BORN.

See how that paid off.   Who knew???

1954:  THE FIRST ISSUE OF SPORTS ILLUSTRATED IS PUBLISHED.

And, in a way, this is also the birth of the bikini.

1956:  ACTOR BELA LUGOSI DIES.

We think.

1960:  JOSEPH KITTINGER PARACHUTES FROM A BALLOON OVER NEW MEXICO, SETTING A RECORD THAT HELD UNTIL 2012 FOR THE HIGHEST FREE FALL AND SPEED BY A HUMAN WITHOUT AN AIRCRAFT.   

The people jumping out of the WTC on 9/11 don't count.

1962:  PETE BEST IS DISCHARGED BY THE BEATLES AND WILL BE REPLACE BY RINGO STARR.

Yeah, John, Paul, George, and Pete didn't have a ring to it.

1966:  THE HOUSE UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE BEGINS INVESTIGATIONS OF AMERICANS WHO HAVE AIDED THE VIET CONG.

Surprisingly, Trump was not involved in this.

1977:  SINGER ELVIS PRESLEY DIES.

How long will that bathroom be off limits?  I really have to go.

1989:  ACTRESS AMANDA BLAKE DIES.

Miss Kitty succumbed to AIDS transmitted by blood.  Sad.

1998:  ACTOR PHIL LEEDS DIES.

Only a few months ago, I saw him on the "Murphy Brown" set.  You know the face.  He was on every sitcom ever made.
2002:  BASEBALL PLAYER JOHN ROSEBORO DIES.

Not from a bat to the forehead.

2003:  PRESIDENT OF UGANDA IDI AMIN DIES.

Not to be confused with Eydie Gorme who was born on this date.

2008:  THE TRUMP INTERNATIONAL HOTEL AND TOWER IS CHICAGO IS TOPPED OFF AT 1,389 FEET, MAKING IT AT THE TIME THE WORLD'S HIGHEST RESIDENCE ABOVE GROUND LEVEL.

Okay, Mr. Kittinger, you can't jump off this.

Dinner last night:  Dodger Dog at the game.






Tuesday, August 15, 2017

See The Movie, Buy The Soundtrack

Or if gut crunching, neck cracking, knee breaking violence isn't your thing, just buy the soundtrack.   The latter is the best part of "Atomic Blonde" anyway.

We go back to the late 80s when President Reagan has told Gorbachev to "take down that wall."  All mayhem is breaking out just as this is supposed to happen and there's some important government file that has gone missing or perhaps to Russia.  Isn't everything about Russia these days?

Well, Charlize Theron plays a secret agent for either Great Britain, the US, or maybe Lower Slobovia and she is entrusted to get it back.   So off to Germany she goes and there's a sinister Russian hiding behind every corner.   And aren't there always sinister Russians hiding behind every corner these days?  Have no fear.  Theron meets everyone of them with a painful groin kick, a snap of the neck, and, for one unfortunate foe, a set of keys lodged firmly in his cheek.

Naturally, none of this makes any sense just like everything going on with Russia these days.  You are thoroughly confused about who is playing on which team but that I believe is the objective of director David Leitch who adapted this all from some graphic novel I never read.   Wait, have I ever read a graphic novel to begin with?

If this all sounds like a big old thumbs down from me, it's not.   There was something about "Atomic Blonde" that was oddly entertaining to me.  Sure, when you get to the 39th or 40th fight scene, you do think that the violence is excessive.  But something about it in this movie sort of raised it to the type of nastiness you might wind in a Road Runner cartoon.   They're having a lot of pain up on the screen, but you know it's just for fun.   

Of course, as prefaced above, the real star of "Atomic Blonde"...sorry, Charlize...is the wonderful 80s soundtrack with the biggest hits of the decade playing behind all the nonsense.   From Til Tuesday to the late great George Michael to several from the later and greater David Bowie.   The stuff never sounded better than when it was punctuating some scene where Theron was castrating some Russian with her high heel.

And, gee, do we wish we could castrate some Russians these days?

LEN'S RATING:  Three stars for the movie.  Four stars for the soundtrack.

Dinner last night:  Salad.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday Morning Video Laugh - August 14, 2017

The dog days of summer.

Dinner last night:  Steak and pan roasted tomatoes with balsamic jam.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Sunday Memory Drawer - Lounging By The Pool

So I just completed a summer week at my Hastings-Yonkers border apartment and things were a little wistful.  I am trying to figure out how much longer I will keep it and boast of this very nice, but growing-more-expensive bi-coastal existence.  Indeed, I had the unit renovated five years ago with the idea of putting it on the market.   You see how far I got.

Yes, it is tougher to afford this luxury today, but I do love having this little oasis in the Lenoir Nature Preserve.   My view from the terrace, which covers the length of the apartment, is nothing but leafy trees in the summer and snow-covered branches in the winter.  What is not to like?

I've had this place for 24 years and, statistically, probably have spent less than ten years of nights there.  I've been there through all sorts of blizzards and heat waves and rainstorms and blackouts.   For the snowy days when I was cooped up there for several days in a row, there was a certain decadence being able to do some laps in the indoor pool downstairs.

As for the outdoor pool shown above, I have not used those facilities since I lived there full time.  But, when I did, I became one of those people.   You know, the lazy summer person who just spent one day after another lounging at the pool.

As a matter of fact, the summer prior to my move west I was down at the pool almost four or five days a week.   I took a lot of time off that year and went into the same robotic mode I bet regular patrons of the Hamptons fall into.   

You know the drill.  Get up in the morning.  Look outside.  Ah, hazy, hot, and humid as only New York weather can be in the summer.   I methodically grabbed my towel and my lounge chair.   Packed the newspaper and my current book and my sun screen and a water bottle and my Walkman (yes, Walkman) and headed down to the pool next to our building.  I was there in five minutes, tops.   Seven minutes if the building custodians were slowing the elevator with a garbage pick-up run.

And then I would be there the whole day.   I would go upstairs at lunchtime to eat a quick sandwich and then back to the chair.

This was the first and only time I ever spent a summer like this.  And it heralded a lot of other firsts.

I finished about ten books over a two month period.   This is an enormous accomplishment for me.

I got the best tan I ever had in my life.

I was in the best shape of my life for some reason.   Why else run around in a bathing suit?

I listened to more current music on local radio stations than I had since I was 12.

I met neighbors I had never seen or barely talked to before.

Most importantly, it was the most relaxed I had ever been in my life.

And it never happened again.   I long for one more summer like that.  Oh, unlikely.   I worry about skin cancer.   I'm not in that same shape anymore. And I stopped listening to current day music a long time ago.

But, still, as I contemplate what to do with my New York apartment, I wonder if there could be one more summer like that.   Doing nothing and not having a care in the world.

Dinner last night:  Szechwan beef at PF Chang's.






Saturday, August 12, 2017

Classic Newsreel of the Month - August 2017

Seventy...and 69 years ago this month.

Dinner last night:  Hamburger at Back on the Beach.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Spell Check!!!!












Dinner last night:  Had a long travel day so just some ice cream.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

This Blog Brought to You By.....

Perhaps you have seen them if you have looked closely.   Scroll down to the bottom of this entry.

Yes, this is an advertisement attached to my content and it is part of a small experiment I am trying.

I have done this blog for ten years plus and have never attempted to monetize it.   But something happened last January that made me think....hmmm....

I can see the daily and weekly page views.   Starting at the first of this year, something must have happened behind the scenes at Google because page views went up astronomically.   Moreover, the entries with the greatest amount of play are those with comic photos or videos.   This is certainly not gratifying given those pieces that I write with great care and humor.  But, for whatever reason, I now have huge traffic because people like to see funny signs outside of churches or videos of dogs eating ice cream cones.

So, if they are coming because I built it, why not get a few coins for it?   Realistically, this is not going to be a 401K account.   The page views might pay for my groceries one week of the month.   Admittedly, I have tried to do this in the most inconspicuous way.  

So, yes, that is an ad you see and bear with me.  I will try it out for three months initially as a trail.   Let's see how it goes.

Dinner last night:  BLT sandwich at JP Cunningham's in Mahopac.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

This Date in History - August 9

A very busy day in history.   You'll see what I mean.  But, let's start off with a birthday greeting to Anna Kendrick, who's cute and can sing and can act and even has a pretty funny Twitter page.

48 BC:  JULIUS CAESAR DEFEATS POMPEY AT PHARSALUS AND POMPEY FLEES TO EGYPT.

Caesar's always enjoying himself unless, of course, it's March.

1173:  CONSTRUCTION OF THE CATHEDRAL OF PISA BEGINS.  IT IS NOW KNOWN AS THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA.

Who the hell were the workmen on this project?  Moe, Larry, and Curly?

1500:  OTTOMAN-VENETIAN WAR CONTINUES IN MESSENIA.

So, it's footstools versus window blinds?

1810:  NAPOLEON ANNEXES WESTPHALIA AS PART OF THE FIRST FRENCH EMPIRE.

Any word on Eastphalia?

1842:  THE WEBSTER-ASHBURTON TREATY IS SIGNED, ESTABLISHING THE US-CANADA BORDER EAST OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.

No wall needed.

1854:  HENRY DAVID THOREAU PUBLISHES WALDEN.

A high school requirement.

1877:  A SMALL BAND OF NEZ PERCE INDIANS CLASH WITH THE US ARMY.

How soon before they are running their own casino?

1892:  THOMAS EDISON RECEIVES A PATENT FOR A TWO-WAY TELEGRAPH.

Dot---dot---dash---dash---dot.

1896:  GLIDER PIONEER OTTO LILIENTHAL HAS A FATAL CRASH.

Paper planes kill.

1899:  AUTHOR P.L. TRAVERS IS BORN.

The author of "Mary Poppins."

1902:  EDWARD VII AND ALEXANDRA OF DENMARK ARE CROWNED KING AND QUEEN OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND.

How the hell did Alexandra manage this?  Greedy little skank.

1927:  ACTOR ROBERT SHAW IS BORN.

We're going to need a bigger cradle.

1930:  BETTY BOOP MAKES HER CARTOON DEBUT.

Boop, boop a doop.

1936:  SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES - JESSE OWENS WINS HIS FOURTH GOLD MEDAL OF THE GAME.

You'd run fast too if you were in Nazi Germany.

1942:  BASEBALL STAR TOMMIE AGEE IS BORN.

Shamsky with Agee...he dives...and makes the catch.

1942:  INDIAN LEADER MAHATMA GANDHI IS ARRESTED IN BOMBAY BY BRITISH FORCES.

Gee, this might make a boring movie some day.

1944:  THE US FOREST SERVICE RELEASES POSTERS FEATURING SMOKEY THE BEAR FOR THE FIRST TIME.

Only you...

1945:  WORLD WAR II - NAGASAKI IS DEVASTATED WHEN US PLANES DROP AN ATOMIC BOMB ON THE CITY.

Somebody's gonna have to clean that up.

1963:  SINGER WHITNEY HOUSTON IS BORN.

Wonder when nurses gave her the first bath.

1963:  PATRICK BOUVIER KENNEDY DIES.

The Kennedy child nobody remembers...because he died.

1969:  CHARLES MANSON AND HIS FAMILY KILL PREGNANT ACTRESS SHARON TATE AND OTHERS AT HER HOME.

I actually know somebody who remembers hearing the screams that night.

1974:  RICHARD NIXON BECOMES THE FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE US TO RESIGN FROM OFFICE.  VP GERALD FORD BECOMES PRESIDENT.

I told you this was a big day in history.

1979:  DODGER OWNER WALTER O'MALLEY DIES.

And Brooklyn dances.

1985:  ACTRESS ANNA KENDRICK IS BORN.

I still think she's cute.

1995:  MUSICIAN JERRY GARCIA DIES.

Grateful.   Dead.

1999:  RUSSIAN PRESIDENT BORIS YELTSIN FIRES HIS ENTIRE CABINET.

Kind of Trump-like.

2008:  COMIC BERNIE MAC DIES.

Hold the fries.

2014:  ACTOR ED NELSON DIES.

Dr. Michael Rossi of TV's "Peyton Place."

2014:  MICHAEL BROWN, AN 18-YEAR-OLD BLACK MALE, IS SHOT AND KILLED BY A FERGUSON, MISSOURI POLICE OFFICER AFTER ALLEGEDLY ASSAULTING THE OFFICER.

There goes the neighborhood.  In flames.

2015:  FOOTBALL STAR FRANK GIFFORD DIES.

Years ago, Johnny Carson caught him in bed with his wife.   Hi ho.

Dinner last night:  Pepperoni pizza.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Moron of the Month - August 2017

In an American ocean riddled with political predators, Maxine Waters just might be the great white shark.   Or, should I say, great black shark.  No, wait.  I better not.   That's the kind of comment that Maxine would use to call you a racist.

Hey, it takes one to know one.

Frankly, "Auntie" Maxine could be honored here as my monthly moron every thirty days for the next twenty years and it wouldn't be enough for me.   She is the absolute epitome of an uncaring and unresponsive member of Congress.   Sure, most of them are.   This old bag has to be the worst.

If you have lived under a rock (and that makes you lucky with regard to exposure to Ms. Waters), she's represented in the House the area that is mostly south central LA.   You know where all the riots were after Rodney King?   Yep, that would be Maxine's district.  Perfect, right?  Well, of course, she totally defended all that violence and mayhem back in 1994.  Maxine's words back then?

"If you call it a riot, it sounds like it was just a bunch of crazy people who went out and did bad things for no reason.   I maintain it was somewhat understand, if not acceptable.  A spontaneous reaction to a lot of injustice.   There were mothers who took this as an opportunity to take some milk, to take some bread, to take some shoes...they are not crooks."

Uh huh.   Tell that to the poor unsuspecting truck driver who was beaten to a pulp at an intersection.   Did he undergo that brutalization because he had packages of Pampers in his cargo hold?

Maxine's been running that district since the early 90s.   Mostly a hell hole then and a hell hole now.  I hear from people I know who live in her district that she really only responds to constituents if the names "sound Black."  Her major objectives over the past twenty-five or so years has been to keep getting elected. The slob is 78 years old and still trolling around.  All she's really spending her time on these days is constantly yapping about the impeachment of Donald Trump.  And going to New Hampshire which prompts speculation of a possible Presidential run in 2020.   Um, God help us all.   Even if she was the model of a perfect politician, I wouldn't elect somebody who's over 80 years old!!!  Is this mike on?   Can you hear me?

Apparently, there's a good reason for Waters' long Congressional tenure.   The money is apparently good.  Lots and lots of ethics charges filed against her and her family over the years.  Look them up on Google.   You'll be reading for days. But the dough is needed because Maxine has to maintain a four million dollar plus home that's not even remotely in the district she covers.  Heck, the upkeep on those 150 or so Diahann Carroll wigs she always sports must be pricey all by itself.  (And don't you wish you could see what this bitch's real hair looks like?)

Now when she was confronted indirectly about this on some Fox News gabfest, she accused the host of being a racist.   What, Maxine countered?   A Black woman can't be successful in her business holdings?

Nobody said that, Stupid.  Heck, I would question why any politician of any color was living that high on the hog and not even in the district they're supposed to be in touch with.   But, naturally, racism is rampant in Maxine's world.  Yet, from everything I've heard, it's not exactly one sided.

So, as fate would have it, I got up close and personal to Maxine just the other day after I had already written the bulk of this "tribute."   I was on an American flight to JFK from LAX last Thursday and I was dumbfounded to see Waters boarding the same flight.

In first class, of course.  Where she was already having a smart adult beverage at 8AM!!!

So she was headed to NY?  Why?   That's not her office in DC.   Or back at home helping her constituents when she comes out of her mansion.

I already knew she was a jerk.   This all confirmed it.   

Look, I come from the prevailing opinion that most politicians are frauds.  I expect nothing.   When it comes to complete and utter abusers of society and democracy, I expect even less from the likes of Maxine Waters.  

Do they make a bug spray for somebody her size?

Dinner last night:  Meat pizza at the iPic Theater in Dobbs Ferry.                                    

Monday, August 7, 2017

Monday Morning Video Laugh - August 7, 2017

Splish, splash, you're gonna crash.

Dinner last night:  Chicken scarpariello at L'Inizio in Ardsley.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Sunday Memory Drawer - Thinking About Dating

I've used this photo before and I still don't know who the girl is that's whipping me around the dance floor at some family party a hundred years ago.   And, anybody I could ask for details is sadly no longer with us.

But the photo gets used again because of the memory today.  Spurred completely by a conversation I had recently with my childhood best friend Leo about the movie "The Big Six."  Oddly, the whole dialogue happened as we were driving back from a Dodger game.

Now, I reviewed the film here a few weeks ago and I heartily recommend it for the humor and the heart portrayed.  Part of the plot revolves around the Pakistani hero of the piece, a stand-up comic who is dating a white bread American girl.   The whole story revolves around the real life romance of the star and the screenwriter of the film, so it is very organic.   

The Pakistani guy is afraid to tell his family who he's dating because they are devout Muslims and are insistent he participate in an arranged marriage with his "own type."

As I was explaining the movie to my buddy who has not yet seen it, we meandered into a conversation about our own dating worlds.   He is married.  I never have been.  And this led me to wonder about my own history in this realm.

Leo explained that, while not a stickler, he always knew that he would be marrying a Christian with Catholicism preferred.  I thought about my own dating experiences.   Was I a stickler or not?  Hmmm.

I should not have surprised if I was, given the surroundings of my home.   Most of my cousins were all a bit older than me and were already entrenched in the dating world.   When the first two got engaged to Catholics, my grandmother was not pleased.

"What's the matter?   You couldn't find a nice Lutheran."

This did set up a bit of a conflict in the family.   I don't remember my own parents weighing in on the topic.   The only time my dad gave me any dating advice was when there was a serial killer going around and attacking young people making out in cars.  As I was headed out the door for an evening, I would hear him call out.

"Don't be parking any place dark."

Thanks, Dad.  And mind your business.

As I think about it, I have had five extended relationships in my life.   The score by religion was one Lutheran, one Presbyterian, and three Catholics.   Of the latter three, there were some holiday masses attended.  One does what one has to do.   At this juncture, Grandma was long gone.  I had no worries.

Now, as I think about this from my past, I obviously didn't have a hard and fast rule about who I got serious with.   While I certainly didn't care what somebody's religion was, I apparently related best with a Christian.  Drilling that down a little further, I know I did shy away from dates with somebody who wore their religion very much on their sleeve.   As far as I was concerned, you could embrace it with one arm.  Embracing it with two often meant a relationship that would be uncomfortable at the least.

It's amazing where your mind wanders when you talk about a movie you just saw.

Dinner last night:  Sausage, peppers, and onions at Carlo's in Yonkers.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Classic TV Commercial of the Month - August 2017

Those were the days.   Cough, cough.

Dinner last night:  Chicken tenders at Citi Field.

Friday, August 4, 2017

More Posthumous Humor












Dinner last night:  Cold roast beef plate at the NY apartment after a humid day of travel.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Not Your Father's WWII Movie

Regular readers here will know that my father used motion pictures when I was a kid to teach me all about World War II.   He sat me down for all the classics.  "Bridge on the River Kwai."  "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo."   "The Longest Day."  "The Guns of Navarone."

Years later, I would seek out later films on my own.  "Patton."  "Tora Tora Tora."  "Saving Private Ryan."

Okay, admittedly, some glorified the battles and might have stretched real events a bit.  But that was some education about this truly horrific period in world history.

So, I awaited the arrival of "Dunkirk" with a bit of caution.  Yes, the subject matter was cat nip for this kitty, but I feared the work of director/screenwriter Christopher Nolan, adored by Hollywood and considered grossly overrated by yours truly.

Well, my fears were realized.  But, in a twist, I didn't realize it until after I had thought about the film.   Somebody asked me on the way out whether I liked it.  I said "yes" at the time.  But, my enthusiasm has faded ever since.

For those under a rock or not educated by a current school system teaching American History, "Dunkirk" tells the tale of...natch...Dunkirk, the last stronghold against the sea as the Germans have beaten back British and French forces to the last bit of land and are desperately waiting for any kind of reinforcements.  This occurs around 1940 and America has yet to enter the conflict.

You would think this would make for quite a story and Nolan chooses to tell three aspects of the Dunkirk experience...the land, the sea, and the air.  But, in a device that I discovered after the fact had thoroughly confused me, the lazy filmmaker told the three tales in non-linear fashion.   Some of it was happening simultaneously.   Some of it was happening at different times.   Sometimes it was night.  Then day.  Then night.   I thought I had followed it all until a screenwriting friend pointed out to me what a cheap and clumsy script this was.

He was right.

Couple this with the fact that all the young actors in peril on the land, the sea, and the air looked alike.   Wait, he's still alive?   I thought he drowned.  Wait, he's drowning now.   No, that's the other guy.   Does this movie come with a "Dunkirk for Dummies" book?

Overall, there were only two actors I recognized...Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance, who is the real attraction here as a civilian yacht owner pressed into action on the high seas.  Other than that, no one really had a chance to stand out as they all meandered to their inevitable demise being blown up or turned into fish food.

There is a minimum of dialogue in "Dunkirk" which gives you a lot of artwork to look at but no characters (other than Rylance) to get invested in.  The soundtrack is 99% noise with a little bit of Hans Zimmer music swells thrown in for good measure.  Technically, this is an amazing movie.   But, as a film designed to indoctrinate people into what happened at Dunkirk, it is sorely lacking.

I firmly think that my dad would have hated this movie.   As for me...

LEN'S RATING:  Two-and-a-half stars...and sinking.

Dinner last night:  Leftover sausage and peppers.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

This Date in History - August 2

Happy birthday to Joanna Cassidy.  Photos like this automatically get you a prominent spot on this blog.

216 BC:  THE CARTHAGINIAN ARMY LED BY HANNIBAL DEFEATS A NUMERICALLY SUPERIOR ROMAN ARMY.

Numerically superior?   I guess that means there were more of them.

461:  MAJORIAN IS ARRESTED NEAR TORTONA AND DEPOSED BY THE SUEBIAN GENERAL RICIMER AS PUPPET EMPEROR.

Kukla, Fran, and Majorian.

1343:  AFTER THE EXECUTION OF HER HUSBAND, JEANNE DE CLISSON SELLS HER ESTATES AND RAISES A FORCE OF MEN WITH WHICH TO ATTACK FRENCH SHIPPING AND PORTS.

If that doesn't sound like a Lifetime movie, I don't know what does.

1610:  DURING HENRY HUDSON'S SEARCH FOR THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE, HE SAILS INTO WHAT IS NOW KNOWN AS HUDSON BAY.

Gives you a rough idea how far off he was.

1776:  THE SIGNING OF THE UNITED STATES DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE TOOK PLACE.

A month after it was written.   Red tape even then.

1790:  THE FIRST US CENSUS IS CONDUCTED.

Nine, ten, eleven...

1869:  JAPAN'S ED SOCIETY CLASS SYSTEM IS ABOLISHED AS PART OF THE MEJII RESTORATION REFORMS.

#OccupyJaps.

1870:  TOWER SUBWAY, THE WORLD'S FIRST UNDERGROUND RAILWAY, OPENS IN LONDON, ENGLAND.

And was delayed due to signal trouble.

1873:  THE CLAY STREET HILL RAILROAD BEGINS OPERATING THE FIRST CABLE CAR IN SAN FRANCISCO.

Good.   Now there's someplace to put those Rice-A-Roni ads.

1876:  WILD BILL HICKOK DIES.

And almost eighty years later, his TV series is cancelled.

1905:  ACTRESS MYRNA LOY IS BORN.

The best year of her life.

1914:  THE GERMAN OCCUPATION OF LUXEMBOURG DURING WORLD WAR I BEGINS.

Have no clue about Luxembourg but it would be cool to say you live there.

1918:  THE FIRST GENERAL STRIKE IN CANADIAN HISTORY TAKES PLACE IN VANCOUVER.

Any excuse for a day off.

1923:  VICE PRESIDENT CALVIN COOLIDGE BECOMES US PRESIDENT UPON THE DEATH OF PRESIDENT WARREN G. HARDING.

The democratic transfer of power.  How civilized.  Back then.

1922:  INVENTOR ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL DIES.

Disconnected.

1924:  ACTOR CARROLL O'CONNOR IS BORN.

Oh, Archie...

1932:  THE POSITRON (ANTIPARTICLE OF THE ELECTRON) IS DISCOVERED BY CARL D. ANDERSON.

I guess this is a big deal to physicists.

1932:  ACTOR PETER O'TOOLE IS BORN.

Lawrence.  Of Arabia.

1934:  ADOLF HITLER BECOMES FUHRER OF GERMANY FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF PRESIDENT PAUL VON HINDENBURG.  

They'll be sorry.

1937:  THE MARIJUANA TAX ACT OF 1937 IS PASSED IN AMERICA, THE EFFECT OF WHICH IS TO RENDER MARIJUANA AND ALL ITS BY-PRODUCTS ILLEGAL.

Yeah, that was then.

1939:  ALBERT EINSTEIN AND LEO SZILARD WRITE A LETTER TO FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, URGING HIM TO BEGIN THE MANHATTAN PROJECT TO DEVELOP A NUCLEAR WEAPON.

Just in case.  We'll probably never use it.

1943:  WORLD WAR II - PT 109, WITH FUTURE PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY ON BOARD, IS RAMMED BY A JAPANESE DESTROYER.

Hey, this might make a great book.   And a movie!

1945:  ACTRESS JOANNA CASSIDY IS BORN.

In this strange Hollywood world, I actually know two people who dated her.   

1947:  A BRITISH SOUTH AMERICAN AIRWAYS AVRO LANCASTRIAN AIRLINER CRASHES INTO A MOUNTAIN ON ITS WAY TO CHILE.  THE WRECKAGE WOULD NOT BE FOUND UNTIL 1998.

Damn, that was hidden.

1951:  SINGER ANDREW GOLD IS BORN.

Thank you for being a friend.

1964:  NORTH VIETNAMESE GUNBOATS ALLEGEDLY FIRE ON THE US DESTROYER MADDOX IN THE GULF OF TONKIN.

Lester or Elliott?

1979:  YANKEE STAR THURMAN MUNSON DIES IN A SMALL PLANE CRASH.

Small or large, the outcome is the same.   Remember this like it was yesterday.

1985:  A DELTA AIR LINES FLIGHT CRASHES AT DALLAS/FORT WORTH AIRPORT KILLING 137.

Damn.   I guess August 2 is not a good day to fly.

1990:  IRAQ INVADES KUWAIT, EVENTUALLY LEADING THE GULF WAR.

As if the fighting never ends there.

1998:  PUPPETEER SHARI LEWIS DIES.

I knew where she lived in Beverly Hills and drove past her house the day after she died.  It was sad seeing Lamb Chop sitting on top of the garbage can.

2005:  AN AIR FRANCE FLIGHT LANDS IN TORONTO AND RUNS OFF THE RUNWAY AND BURSTS INTO FLAMES.

Yeah, I'm never flying on August 2.

Dinner last night:  BLT sandwich at Cafe 50s.