Saturday, May 27, 2017

Classic TV Theme of the Month - May 2017

Nobody would show these credits anymore.  Except me.

Dinner last night:  Pastrami French Dip at Phillipe's.

Friday, May 26, 2017

When Your Bulbs Go Out...










Dinner last night:  Bacon and cheddar frittata.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Just When You Think It's Safe to Go Outside

This is America.  Land of many nationalities and colors and people.   All living harmoniously.

Uh huh.   And, just when you start believing that, a simple little incident makes you realize that all is not right.   In a way that you never ever hear on the news.

I was in my local Staples buying my ink cartridges for my home printer.   There were two checkout registers open and a line had formed.   On one register, there was an African-American gentleman probably around the age of 50. Reasonably well dressed.  His transaction was taking up a lot of time and the one Staples clerk was working on it.  My turn came and I approached the register right next to him.

The clerk handling my ink cartridges explained to me that the Staples credit card server was acting erratically.  If you were using plastic for your purchase, some cards were going through and others were being denied.  It was hit and miss.   The African-American guy's experience was a miss.   His card was getting dinged.

The clerk tried my debit card and, with his fingers crossed, my purchase sailed through.  I noticed the next-door customer eyeing me with envy.   I simply smiled and said I got lucky.   The guy actually sneered.

"That's not luck.  It's because you're White."

The sharpness of his remark stunned me for a second or two.  I waited for a smile that showed he was being funny.   Or a humorous inflection that you might see on one of those old Norman Lear sitcoms.  But there was none.   He was deadly serious.

I picked up my jaw from the floor, grabbed my ink cartridges, and left.   But I literally sat in my car for a minute or two contemplating this.   Here was a normal and decent-looking man who just happened to feature a skin color different from mine.  And he looked at me with disdain because apparently it was my pigmentation that allowed my credit card to go through.  Maybe he's not a nice guy.  Maybe he's got a ton of personal issues.   But I am not the enemy.

Is this what we are now?   I look at our leadership in the nation,  Right now, the manic bi-polarity of our country has set up this nasty battle that will ultimately kill us all.  If you're White, you're a bigot.  The current President has done nothing to dispel this fallacy.  Meanwhile, the previous President stirred this pot and essentially set race relations in this country back fifty years.  The progress we made as a unified land was snuffed out almost in a heartbeat by the last eight years.   

I don't profess to say that I know what it's like to be a skin color other than White.  The history books tell me of all the struggles and challenges.   But I thought we had come a lot farther than this guy in the checkout line next to me at Staples.  I said nothing to him in response, but I wanted to tell him that I am not necessarily the privileged class or the enemy he desperately seeks out.  I wanted to show him the 2015 medical bills I still have due to all the regulations imposed by Obamacare.   I wanted to link him to the blog piece I did about my third grade class with the accompanying photo.  He would see a harmonious group of five White kids and about 20 others of skin colors not White.  

No, I'm not part of your problem, sir.   Indeed, I came to the realization that racism really never will be fully gone from this country as long as mindsets like this are not only sustained, but encouraged,

And, the sooner people release that such hatred is a two way street, the better it will be for all of us.

Such is life in America 2017.  One step forward and always two steps back.

Dinner last night:  Had a big lunch, so just a chicken salad sandwich.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

This Date in History - May 24

Happy birthday to Mrs. Elvis.    Back when she was a looker on Dallas.   The doctors have not been kind.   Stay tuned...

1487:  THE TEN-YEAR-OLD LAMBERT SIMMEL IS CROWNED IN DUBLIN WITH THE NAME OF EDWARD VI IN A BID TO THREATEN KING HENRY'S VII REIGN.

If King Henry can't beat the crap out of a ten-year-old, he doesn't deserve the crown.

1607:  100 ENGLISH SETTLES DISEMBARK IN JAMESTOWN, THE FIRST ENGLISH COLONY IN AMERICA.

What Indians??

1626:  PETER MINUIT BUYS MANHATTAN.

With a credit limit of 30 dollars on his Diner's Club card.

1689:  THE ENGLISH PARLIAMENT PASSES THE ACT OF TOLERATION PROTECTING PROTESTANTS.  ROMAN CATHOLICS ARE EXCLUDED.

So much for tolerance.

1738:  JOHN WESLEY IS CONVERTED, ESSENTIALLY LAUNCHING THE METHODIST MOVEMENT.

Roman Catholics excluded again?

1830:  "MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB" BY SARAH JOSEPHA HALE IS PUBLISHED.

Fleece as white as snow?  Is that racist?

1844:  SAMUEL MORSE SENDS THE MESSAGE 'WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT" TO INAUGURATE THE FIRST TELEGRAPH LINE.

Dot dot dash dot dash dot dash dash.

1883:  THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE IN NEW YORK CITY IS OPENED TO TRAFFIC AFTER 14 YEARS OF CONSTRUCTION.

Where's the E-Z pass lane?

1895:  HENRY IRVING BECOMES THE FIRST PERSON FROM THE THEATER TO BE KNIGHTED.

For those of you who thought it was Lin-Manuel Miranda.

1921:  THE TRIAL OF SACCO AND VANZETTI OPENS.

Paging Perry Mason.

1935:  THE FIRST NIGHT GAME IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL HISTORY IS PLAYED IN CINCINNATI, OHIO.  

The Reds beat the Phillies, 2-1 for those of you keeping score.

1940:  IGOR SIKORSKY PERFORMS THE FIRST SUCCESSFUL SINGLE ROTOR HELICOPTER.

Tell us which freeway is jammed, please.

1941:  WORLD WAR II - THE GERMAN BATTLESHIP BISMARCK SINKS THE HMS HOOD OF THE ROYAL NAVY.

What goes around will come around.

1941:  MUSICIAN BOB DYLAN IS BORN.

Just what does a woman taste like?

1943:  ACTOR GARY BURGHOFF IS BORN.

B*A*B*Y*.

1945:  ACTRESS PRISCILLA PRESLEY IS BORN.

And your plastic surgeon is?
1953:  ACTOR ALFRED MOLINA IS BORN.

My friend once threw a script into his front yard.

1958:  UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL IS FORMED THROUGH A MERGER OF THE UNITED PRESS AND THE INTERNATIONAL NEWS SERVICE.

Slow news day.

1961:  AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT - FREEDOM RIDERS ARE ARRESTED IN MISSISSIPPI FOR "DISTURBING THE PEACE" AFTER DISEMBARKING FROM THEIR BUS.

Al Sharpton, I'm looking at you.

1962:  PROJECT MERCURY - AMERICAN ASTRONAUT SCOTT CARPENTER ORBITS THE EARTH THREE TIMES.

"So, what did you do at work today, Honey?"

1967:  EGYPT IMPOSES A BLOCKADE AND SIEGE OF THE COAST OF ISRAEL.

And the fighting still goes on to this day.

1974:  MUSICIAN DUKE ELLINGTON DIES.

Take the A Hearse.

1976:  THE JUDGMENT OF PARIS TAKES PLACE IN FRANCE, LAUNCHING AS A WORLDWIDE FORCE IN THE PRODUCTION OF QUALITY WINE.

I'll have the house Cabernet, thank you.

1984:  WRESTLING PROMOTER VINCE MCMAHON SR. DIES.

Bobo Brazil and Haystacks Calhoun were pall bearers.

1993:  ERITREA GAINS ITS INDEPENDENCE FROM ETHIOPIA.

Who?  What?  Where?

1994:  FOUR MEN CONVICTED OF BOMBING THE WORLD TRADE CENTER IN 1993 ARE EACH SENTENCED TO 240 YEARS IN PRISON.

Six months with good behavior.

2001:  THE VERSAILLES WEDDING HALL DISASTER IN JERUSALEM KILLS 23 AND INJURES OVER 200.

Remember this?  Can you say "fire laws?"

2008:  COMIC DICK MARTIN DIES.

Good night, Dick.

Dinner last night:  Bacon wrapped Dodger Dog at the game.




Tuesday, May 23, 2017

There Are Nice People in Hollywood

Seriously, there are.   I actually know some of them.   And you can also add Harold and Lillian Michelson to the list of true golden people in Tinseltown.  

Once again, I go to the movies and discover a documentary that is infinitely more interesting and uplifting than 90 percent of the non-documentary crap released on a weekly basis.   The story of Harold and Lillian is a simple, yet enormously gratifying one.  Here's two people who met, fell in love, got married, and moved to Hollywood in the mid 20th century.   Both somehow wind up with plum careers in the picture business.   And they are hard workers for the rest of their lives.

Harold has a penchant for drawing so he becomes a storyboard artist for a slew of movies you've seen from "West Side Story" to "The Birds."   He soon angles into the position of Production Designer and worked with all of the top directors from Billy Wilder to Robert Wise to Alfred Hitchcock.

Meanwhile, besides raising three kids, Lillian literally stumbles into the world of film research---one of those folks who brings the level of authenticity to any movie.   Before long, her library is one of the most sought-after services in Hollywood and she, too, works for the cream of the crop in Hollywood.   One of the friends they make is Danny DeVito who also is the executive producer of this documentary and it comes off as a labor of love.

There are no nasty stories here about Harold and Lillian.   They work hard.   They love hard.   And, unlike some folks in Hollywood, they are grateful for the opportunity.   Harold's been gone for about ten years, but Lillian is still with us. She lives out in Woodland Hills at the Motion Picture Retirement Home and that, in itself, would be a fabulous documentary to see.  Luckily, Lillian is still as quick as a whip and the tales she spins are magical.  Above it all, you can really feel the love she and Harold had for each other.   That alone makes this a worthwhile time in front of a big screen.

The thought comes across from some of the talking heads that Lillian is long overdue for special recognition from the Oscars and perhaps this film is designed to spearhead that campaign.   I'm sure that, if it happens, her acceptance speech will include some loving words for the late Harold.   Because that's what these two were all about.

LEN'S RATING:  Three-and-a-half stars.

Dinner last night:  Sandwich.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday Morning Video Laugh - May 22, 2017

The title says it all.  Look out below.

Dinner last night:   Turkey Reuben at Blue Plate.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Sunday Memory Drawer - In A Galaxy Forty Years Ago This Week

This coming Thursday marks the 40th anniversary of the opening of "Star Wars."  And I remember exactly what I was doing on that day.

Seeing "Star Wars."

That would be me, perhaps one of the most blase movie fans in history.   A person who now will wait a few weeks to see a new blockbuster so the crowds can die down.   I'm also somebody who has never been much of a science fiction fan.  Yet, somehow inexplicably, I spent parts of May 25, 1977 on three different ticket lines at three different theaters trying to see this film on its opening day.

Indeed, if there was advance buzz about this movie, it had completely passed me by.  But, it was the Friday of Memorial Day weekend and, like most young folks, had nothing to do.  I got a call from a friend.

"We have to go see Star Wars today."

Huh?  What?  I had no clue.   But I trusted him.   I then fell into the phone chain.  I called another pal of mine.

You need to come see "Star Wars" with us.

"Huh?  What?"

I got sucked into the frenzy that easy.   Before long, four of us were mapping out where it was playing and at what times.  

An afternoon showing downtown in Manhattan at one of the then-fancy theaters now torn down.   This involved a subway ride for us.

The line at the East Side theater was around the block when we got there.  Sold out.

Back on the train up north to a similar venue in the Bronx.  The line may have been intermixing with the one waiting for welfare checks on the Grand Concourse.  Nevertheless...sold out.

We were, for some reason unknown to any of us, crushed.  And now fiercely determined to somehow and some way see this movie which we knew little about.

I forget the machinations that propelled us back to where we started, but someday had a car that took us up to my once-beloved Central Plaza Cinema in Yonkers.   The place is now sadly a Party City.
The glory of this then-brand-spanking-new movie palace was that there were, at the time, two screens with a balcony in both.  Both were very smartly showing "Star Wars."

Cinema 1?  Sold out.

Cinema 2 was wall-to-wall people.   I have never seen so many folks crammed into one place.   Fire Department regulations were definitely taxed.   So, after the legendary opening crawl, the movie begins and Princess Leia is accessing data into or out of R2D2.   I turned to my friend and asked if we had come in during the middle of the movie.  Had we missed the very first "Star Wars?"  I was so confused.

But in a good way.   The franchise, in my humble opinion, has had its ups and downs.   And I wouldn't call myself a fan who would go chase down Mark Hamill at a comic book convention.   But the ultimate exhilaration of that very first day when we spent most of our time just trying to get into a theater was so memorable.   

Of course, there was always the damper at home.   Dad.

"Where the hell were you all day?"

I explained.

"Huh?  What???"

Dinner last night:  BLT sandwich at Cafe 50s.



Saturday, May 20, 2017

Classic Movie Trailer of the Month - May 2017

Forty years ago this month, this thing opened.  Anybody hear of it?

Dinner last night:  The pre-game buffet at the Dodger Stadium Club.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Your Weekend Movie Guide for May 2017

Now this is luxury movie going.  I note this because, just recently, one of these theaters opened up right near my Yonkers, New York residence.   It's part of the growing iPic chain.   Actually there's one here in Los Angeles near me but I have yet to sample it.  Now, originally, the theater back east was supposed to be part of Robert Redford's Sundance chain but they must have gone belly up.   Their outlet in West Hollywood just flipped to AMC.   Poor Bob.

Well, anyway, these are the types of theaters where you can eat and drink at the seat.   The chair reclines.   They give you a blanket.   And, indeed, once you start watching the fare on the screen, a good nap is sure to follow.   What will you be dozing through this weekend?   You know the drill, gang.   I'll zip through the movie pages of the LA Times and give you my gut reaction to the Sominex dispenser near you.   

It sure does look comfy.

Paris Can Wait:  Some sappy romance with Diane Lane.  Probably intriguing to a bunch of my friends who suddenly want to move to the City of No Deodorant.

Snatched:   A chick-focused comedy with Amy Schumer and somebody vaguely looking like Goldie Hawn.   I can't tell through all the Botox.  I think I prefer to remember her the way she looked in "Foul Play."

Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2:  I watched the first one on a plane and hated it.   So, you do the math on the sequel.

King Arthur - Legend of the Sword:  I hate most medieval things.   This movie is likely including in that mix.

Norman - The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of A New York Fixer:  It stars Richard Gere and, by that title, we can't be sure this isn't a veiled biopic of Donald Trump.

The Lovers:  Answering the question of "whatever happened to Debra Winger."

The Dinner:  Two couples discuss life at an upscale restaurant.  Check, please.

The Lost City of Z:   Will I understand it if I missed the movies about the Lost Cities of A through Y?

Chuck:  Liev Schreiber as boxer Chuck Wepner.  Eight, nine, ten....

Their Finest:  Previously reviewed.   You will like this comedy...yes, comedy...about London during the bombing of World War II.

Gifted:  Heard good things.   Never saw it.  Shit happens.

Beauty and the Beast:  Finally ran my blog review the other day.   You do know that it was once a cartoon?

How to Be a Latin Lover:  You know that Trump secretly ordered a screening of this, right?

The Fate of the Furious:  There have been more films in this franchise than there are versions of a health care bill.

The Boss Baby:   You're fired.

A Quiet Passion:   From the trailer, that quiet will be ruined by my snores.

Alien - Covenant:   Because everything previously made is new again.

Devil's Domain:  It's about cyber-bullying.   Unfollow.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid - The Long Haul:  About hiding from the Nazis...oh, wait, wrong diary.

Everything, Everything:  A girl in a plastic bubble longs for romance.   And did this not once star John Travolta?

The Wedding Plan:  An orthodox woman looks for a groom.   Honey, you shouldn't have booked the reception hall first.

Paint It Black:  The Maxine Waters Story?

If You're Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast:  A documentary about some 90-year-old show business legends like Carl Reiner, Dick Van Dyke, Mel Brooks, Betty White, and Norman Lear.   Large popcorn, please.

Dinner last night:  Shrimp Po'Boy sandwich at Bubba Gump.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

And Here's Three Things Bothering Me...

Because it's okay to bitch once in a while.  And, speaking of bitch, let's start with the one above.

I was heartened to see this advertisement on a bus stop because, at last, somebody is calling out this 78-year-old political fraud who epitomizes everything wrong in Washington these days.

Because of all her anti-Trump rhetoric of late, this disgusting woman, inexplicably elected by her district for many years, has become a bit of a folk hero especially to millennials who are dumb to begin with.   She's getting a lot of attention because of this and I wonder why.   Has no one looked into her own record which is borderline criminal in the first place?   Does anybody remember that she actually defended the thugs who beat that poor truck driver back during the 1992 LA riots?  Is there a single soul that can't see past this old crow?

In the past week, I spoke to two friends who actually live in the Congressional district she represents.  Both have had reason to try and contact her office for assistance.   They are still waiting to have their requests answered.   Indeed, Maxine Waters is emblematic of every elected official we have today.  They don't care about you on any day that's not Election Day.

Her nonsense and prattle these days is not helping America.  In fact, she has set race relations in this nation back sixty years.   The sooner we are rid of this piece of shit in a Diahann Carroll wig, the better.
I have a little less venom reserved for Jessica Mendoza, but not much.   Her work as a baseball analyst for ESPN (which features the worst coverage of the MLB, by the way) has single handedly re-acquainted us all with mute buttons.

Now, before you think I am prejudiced about female baseball announcers, you are wrong.   If you're somebody like the Yankees' Suzyn Waldman and you've put a lot of hard work in the trenches, then I salute what you do for Yankee radiocasts.  But this idiot's main claim to fame is that she played softball.   Yes, softball.   So, when she explains to me what Kris Bryant's approach to hitting is, I say..."how the fuck do you know?"   Most of the time, however, Mendoza adds such clever insights as...

"Gee, there's a lot of energy in this ball park tonight?"

"That Derek Jeter was a great shortstop."

"This team really wants to go to the World Series."

Genius.   Let's face it.   You know and I know why she got the gig.   There's a Z in her last name.   And that's the sort of reverse racism offered by Maxine Waters. You see how this all ties together?
Okay, this might not mean much to you but I have a renewed hatred for the Colorado Rockies.   Oh, nothing personal against the players.   But, last weekend, after watching yet another series where the atmosphere and the air around Denver contributed to making an aberration of a perfectly good sport, I wonder again why MLB ever awarded a franchise to this city.   

The altitude and dimensions in Coors Field there results in football-like scores, the destruction of pitching arms, and statistical glitches that make a mockery of the usual consistency of baseball.   I see no purpose in this franchise even existing.  I mean, most of the people are just waiting for football season anyway.  I doubt the fan base will even notice if the Rockies disappeared.  Half of them are light-headed to begin with.   The rest are too stone on legalized pot.  
Oh, wait, they're smoking it for medicinal purposes?   Don't get me started on that scam.   I'll gripe about that another time.

Dinner last night:  Angel hair pasta with tomatoes and olives.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

This Date in History - May 17

On the occasion of what would have been his 62nd birthday, we salute the late Bill Paxton.

1521:  EDWARD STAFFORD, 3RD DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM, IS EXECUTED FOR TREASON.

What happened to the first two Dukes of Buckingham?

1536:  GEORGE BOLEYN, 2ND VISCOUNT ROCHFORD IS EXECUTED FOR TREASON.

What happened to the 1st Viscount Rochford?

1536:  HENRY VIII AND ANNE BOLEYN'S MARRIAGE IS ANNULLED.

But they were not executed.

1580:  ANNE OF DENMARK IS CROWNED QUEEN OF SCOTLAND.

Isn't she being a bit of a hog?  Two countries?

1673:  LOUIS JOLLIET AND JACQUES MARQUETTE BEGIN EXPLORING THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.

Gee, this water is filthy.

1792:  THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE IS FORMED.

And immediately finished the day at an all time low.

1805:  MUHAMMAD ALI BECOMES WALI OF EGYPT.

Gee, that boxer was old.

1814:  OCCUPATION OF MONACO CHANGES FROM FRENCH TO AUSTRIAN.

So it went back to French at some point?

1875:  ARISTIDES WINS THE FIRST KENTUCKY DERBY.

I assume this was a horse.

1886:  BUSINESSMAN JOHN DEERE DIES.

Well, with a tractor, he was easy to bury.

1911:  ACTRESS MAUREEN O'SULLIVAN IS BORN.

Me, Tarzan.  You, toddler.

1915:  THE LAST BRITISH LIBERAL PARTY GOVERNMENT FAILS.

Don't they all?

1939:  THE COLUMBIA LIONS AND THE PRINCETON TIGERS PLAY IN THE US' FIRST TELEVISED SPORTING EVENT, A COLLEGIATE BASEBALL GAME.

Was this also the first Ballantine beer commercial?

1940:  WORLD WAR II - GERMANY OCCUPIES BRUSSELS, BELGIUM.

Springtime for Sprouts.

1954:  THE US SUPREME COURT HANDS DOWN A UNANIMOUS DECISION IS BROWN VERSUS BOARD OF EDUCATION.

TKO in ten rounds.

1955:  ACTOR BILL PAXTON IS BORN.

Good actor.   Wonderful performance in Apollo 13.

1956:  COMIC BOB SAGET IS BORN.

The house got fuller.

1967:  SIX-DAY WAR - PRESIDENT NASSER OF EGYPT DEMANDS DISMANTLING OF THE PEACE KEEPING UN EMERGENCY FORCE IN EGYPT.

Does the UN ever manage to keep peace anywhere??

1973:  THE WATERGATE TELEVISED HEARINGS BEGIN IN THE US SENATE.

There go my episodes of Tattletales.

1974:  POLICE IN LOS ANGELES RAID THE SYMBIONESE LIBERATION ARMY HEADQUARTERS, KILLING SIX MEMBERS.

Meanwhile, whatever happened to Patty Hearst?

1992:  BANDLEADER LAWRENCE WELK DIES.

And a one and a two...

2004:  THE FIRST LEGAL SAME-SEX MARRIAGES IN THE US ARE PERFORMED IN THE STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS.

As opposed to illegal ones?

2004:  ACTOR TONY RANDALL DIES.

Interviewed him once.   Really nice man.

2005:  COMIC FRANK GORSHIN DIES.

???????????????   Am obscure joke.   Think about it.

2011:  BASEBALL STAR HARMON KILLEBREW DIES.

And still went 1 for 3.

2012:  SINGER DONNA SUMMER DIES.

Last dance, last chance...

Dinner last night:  Cheeseburger at In N Out Burger.

  

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

As Old As Time

You know that I pretty much review every movie I go to see.   I usually come right home and write my critique and then I store it away for later blog posting. Well, somehow, I completely forgot to run this piece on Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" even though I saw it sometime between when it had made bazillions and gazillions of dollars.  It just went into my blog queue and never came out. Until now.   I wonder why.

Maybe it's because the film didn't really register with me as memorable.   Or perhaps it's due to the fact that I thought I saw it all before.

Oh, wait, I did.

Let's see.   There was the animated feature I saw back in the early 90s.   Then I remember I took my then-young goddaughter to see the stage version on Broadway.   Was there an Ice Capades edition of it?   That sounds familiar.   And didn't NBC produce an all-Hispanic live version with Jennifer Lopez as Belle and Jimmy Smits as the Beast?  Or am I imagining all this?

Whatever the case, this movie is a reminder that Hollywood has completely run out of new ideas and will cannibal stuff it made before.   Okay, in this case, there is a sweetness about the new live action production of what was once a cartoon.  Women who saw it as kids are now mothers taking their kids to see it and that's a good thing.  For that reason alone, "Beauty and the Beast" is pretty serviceable entertainment.

Of course, when I look up the original run time of the cartoon, I see it came in at a nifty 84 minutes.   The live action version clocks in at two hours plus which makes me think that the characters move faster when animated.  Yes, the 2017 edition is quite padded and loaded with special effects that I supposed people can't really draw.   There seemed to be more songs because, after all, what's a Disney movie without a tune they can exploit for next year's Best Song Oscar.

Despite the excess, the story remains the same...a tale as old as time...ahem. There are some accommodations made for 2017 audiences.   Given the big push for diversity, several of the characters are played by African-Americans.   I'm not being a hard ass about this, but history tells me that there were likely very few Blacks dancing waltzes as members of the long ago French aristocracy, but that's just me.   There's also a quick gay-oriented joke that is quite funny and worrisome for the folks at squeaky-clean Disney.   I mean, if the producers wanted to really tie in the present day, I'm surprised that the irate mob at the end of the movie didn't carry some "Trump Must Be Impeached" signs.

The casting in this "Beauty" was perfectly fine.   Emma Watson can sing and Dan Stevens (Matthew from Downton Abbey) can grunt.  I had an issue with the guy playing the villainous Gaston.   Oh, Luke Evans in the role was perfectly snarly but he was completely miscast.   First of all, he looked like Robert Goulet which would put him about thirty years too old for Belle.   And, second of all, I never liked Robert Goulet.   I've also never been a fan of Kevin Kline, which meant his appearance as Belle's father completely annoyed me.  

Of course, all the appliances and knick knacks in the castle were played by live actors, but, again, they were animated so I guess that this movie is only a reboot of the cartoon in part.  Frankly, I much prefer cartoons when they involve talking candlesticks and tea cups but I'm funny that way.

Again, this new version made a fortune, so you can fully expand Disney to keep recycling everything in their library.   I fully expect an all-giraffe edition of "Pollyanna" and a reboot of "The Parent Trap" where the parents are both of the same sex.

Welcome to creativity in 2017.

LEN'S RATING:  Three stars.

Dinner last night:  Had a big lunch so just a sandwich and salad.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Monday Morning Video Laugh - May 15, 2017

This is a classic that went viral many years ago.   I still love the phony sensitivity of the in-studio hosts.

Dinner last night:  Angel hair pasta with bacon and tomatoes.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Sunday Memory Drawer - Mom Pops Into My Mind


When I think about it, Mom's been gone for a long while now.  Indeed, all my relatives in my parents' generation...aunts and uncles and the like...have passed on.  They all departed around the same relatively young age of 70.  I would often wonder why.  Then I would look at my dad's old Technicolor slides of family gatherings.  Everybody had a cigarette in one hand and a cocktail in the other.

Message received.

It's Mother Day so memories again come to the forefront.

Here's Mom and me feeding some ducks at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. This was a popular Sunday afternoon destination for my family. Our own little theme park.  Six Flags Over Dead People. I have some other photos of us and the ducks and the thing I noted in all of them: my mother's always on the side of the pond in high heels. Barbara Billingsley lives. Except I never saw her vacuuming the hallway in them.

Looking at vintage snapshots, I am always blown away over how well dressed she always was. Now that I recollect, my mother was a clothes junkie. Her closet was constantly filled with new stuff. And shoes, shoes, and more shoes.
I got dragged at least once a week by her as she checked out the new offerings at Bromley's on Fourth Avenue in Mount Vernon. One of those dress stores that made me feel incredibly uncomfortable as I sat there quietly as Mom tried on one outfit after another. I always wondered how we could afford it all.

I got my answer a little later on when the weekly shopping jaunts included a stop at the Mt. Vernon Loan Company on Fiske Place. My mother would go up to the window, hand over an envelope, and then turn back to me.

"Don't tell your father."

Gotcha.

Over time, I noticed that the Mt. Vernon Loan Company never really disappeared from my mother's anointed rounds. When I got a little older, I was entrusted with delivering the little white envelope myself. The loan place was conveniently located in the same office building as my dentist and my orthodontist. One stop shopping. Get the rubber bands or the bite plate adjusted and pay off Mom's deficit. No fuss, no muss.

In retrospect, my mother was one of the original liberated women. Because, as soon as I was about six or seven, she was off to work. First at a pen manufacturer, then at an electrical supply place. Finally, she made the great leap to the big time. Commuting to Manhattan for a job at a major accounting firm. Meanwhile, I was hanging with the grandparents while Mom and Dad worked. And, as long as I can remember, the envelopes to the loan company kept coming.

I never questioned it all. Except I could always tell that money, as usual, always seemed to be a big discussion point between Mom and Dad. Which is why she kept working. Once she was working "downtown," the wardrobe in her closet expanded at geometric proportions. Essentially, Mom never had a dollar she couldn't spend. I learned this more and more years later when she was retired and on a fixed income.

I financially supplemented her a lot in her post-working era. She used her Social Security and her pension to pay for her rent and her food. I covered the other stuff: electric bill, the phone, the cable. It should have given her a comfort zone that was pretty cushy. Except for those months where she ran out of cash before we hit the 30th of the month. And our conversations were always the same.

"Can I borrow fifty dollars? I'm short this month."

I'd dutifully go over everything she paid for and I was always suitably confused. I could never understand how she went over budget. I'd ask the same question and get her knee-jerk reaction.

"No, I'm not paying off the loan company."

After several short months, I started to dig around. In her apartment building, she had a passel of retired friends who were also not doing their best at living check-to-check. But, instead of asking their own offspring for bailouts, they'd come to my mother. And she was more than happy to lend out some cold cash. While the budget in all the apartments on Fleetwood Avenue were balanced, my mother was building a shortfall worthy of the federal government. Forget Reagan. My mother was the true inventor of "voodoo economics."

After squelching the stimulus package that my mom was extending to her cronies, the spending returned to normal for a while. And then short months returned.

"No, I'm not paying off the loan company."

And?

"No, I'm not giving money out to the building."

Once again, I had to impose a thorough investigation of my own mother. It didn't take long to find the answer.

In a kitchen cabinet, I found over five hundred expired lottery tickets. Some weeks, she had spend more than 100 dollars, attempting to "be in it to win it." Outed as the newest member of Gamblers Anonymous, my mother tried to make nice.

"If I win the big prize, I'll give you most of the money."

Nice try, Mom. In retrospect, I guess it could have been worse. It wasn't like she was spending her money on fast living and cigarettes.

Well, she did a little of that, too.  They all did from what the pictures tell me.

Dinner last night:  Orange beef from Century Dragon.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Classic Newsreel of the Month - May 2017

Eighty years ago this week...

Dinner last night:  Homemade pepperoni pizza.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Being Politically Auto-Correct










Dinner last night:  Teriyaki chicken and vegetables.