Thursday, August 31, 2017

V-room, V-room

I'm not a fan of thrill ride theme parks.   I am a big fan of movies that make you feel like you're on a thrill ride at a theme park.   And "Baby Driver" does that with all the exhilaration and excitement you would feel on the super-duper new roller coaster ride at Six Flags.

Indeed, this film superbly crafted by screenwriter/director Edgar Wright just might be the most fun I have had at the movies in a long, long time.  Ideal for summer with its hair raising chase scenes, "Baby Driver" also stands out from the rest for being very sparse with the CGI effects that usually dominate the hot weather cinematic fare.  This one is definitely old school with its main contribution likely coming from stunt drivers and not graphics designers.   All the action, set in downtown Atlanta, looks incredibly real and that adds to the enjoyment.   

For me, the quintessential summer action film has always been the original "Die Hard."   That one immediately threw you into a situation with an every day hero that you could quickly identify with.   Here, in lieu of Bruce Willis, you get the soon-to-be-big-star Ansel Elgort as "Baby."   Always sporting sun glasses and wearing ear buds for music to help with the hearing issues he developed as a child (the backstory works), Baby's specialty is driving the getaway car for heists that are masterminded by the again-sinister Kevin Spacey, who's now playing every role like he's Frank Underwood.  Baby is paying off some unspecified debt to him and he longs for the one last job that will set him free. Naturally, this is like the Godfather and just when you think you're out, they pull you back in.

In a remarkably real and tender scene, Baby connects with a diner waitress played by Lily James who was Lady Rose on "Downton Abbey."   The dialogue between them is so real that you feel like you're eavesdropping.   They start planning a life together.  But, Spacey calls and there's another job, this time with real nasty guys played by Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm.   This has all the looks of not ending well for Baby.  Who cares?  You have been sucked into this vortex like Baby is a big way.

There are two stunning set pieces that are not to be missed.   The opening car chase is mind boggling and, later on, a chase on foot is magnificently choreographed.   I haven't seen an action film this good since...well..."Die Hard."

"Baby Driver" will be the best movie you saw this summer.  Even more, for me, "Baby Driver" just might be the best movie I see all year.

LEN'S RATING:  Four stars.

Dinner last night:  Grilled bratwurst and onions.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

This Date in History - August 30

Happy birthday to Cameron Diaz.   There's something about Botox.

526:  KING THEODERIC THE GREAT DIES OF DYSTENTERY AND HIS DAUGHTER AMALASUNTHA TAKES POWER.

Easy for you to say.

1282:  PETER III OF ARAGON LANDS AT TRAPANI TO INTERVENE IN THE WAR OF THE SICILIAN VESPERS.

Who knew that Vespers could get so angry?

1464:  POPE PAUL II SUCCEEDS POPE PIUS II AS THE 211TH POPE.

There's already been 211 Popes?   Back in the day when you could die from a sinus infection.

1574:  GURU RAM DAS BECOMES THE FOURTH SIKH GURU/MASTER.

Wasn't this guy a Star Wars character?

1727:  ANNE, ELDEST DAUGHTER OF KING GEORGE II OF GREAT BRITAIN, IS GIVEN THE TITLE PRINCESS ROYAL.

Daddy's little girl.

1791:  HMS PANDORA SINKS AFTER HAVING RUN AGROUND ON THE OUTER GREAT BARRIER REEF.

My money is on HMS Spotify.

1800:  GABRIEL PROSSER POSTPONES A PLANNED SLAVE REBELLION IN RICHMOND, VIRGINIA.

There'll be a slave rebellion doubleheader next month.

1835:  MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA IS FOUNDED.

I got nothing, mate.

1836:  THE CITY OF HOUSTON IS FOUNDED.

Go Astros!

1873:  AUSTRIAN EXPLORERS JULIUS VON PAYER AND KARL WEYPRECHT DISCOVER THE ARCHIPELAGO OF FRANZ JOSEK LAND IN THE ARCTIC SEA.

And this impacts me how?

1896:  ACTOR RAYMOND MASSEY IS BORN.

Dr. Gillespie!

1898:  ACTRESS SHIRLEY BOOTH IS BORN.

So, she was already in her 60s when she was playing Hazel.   I did not know that.

1908:  ACTOR FRED MACMURRAY IS BORN.

Mike.  Robbie.  Chip.  Ernie.   Tramp.

1914:  WORLD WAR I - GERMANS DEFEAT THE RUSSIANS IN THE BATTLE OF TANNENBERG.

Still not interested.

1918:  FANNI KAPLAN SHOOTS AND SERIOUSLY INJURES BOLSHEVIK LEADER VLADIMIR LENIN.

If the latter had four girls, would they be the Lenin Sisters?

1918:  BASEBALL STAR TED WILLIAMS IS BORN.

First day of warmth.

1927:  ACTOR BILL DAILY IS BORN.

"And Bob will never die."

1938:  MAKE-UP ARTIST MAX FACTOR DIES.

Screw the mascara.   Bring the formaldehyde.

1944:  BASEBALL STAR TUG MCGRAW IS BORN.

You gotta believe.

1945:  HONG KONG IS LIBERATED FROM JAPAN BY BRITISH ARMED FORCES.

Well, the last thing Japan needs right now is another country, given the recent nuclear bomb and all.

1945:  THE SUPREME COMMANDER OF THE ALLIED FORCES, GENERAL DOUGLAS MACARTHUR LANDS AT ATSUGI AIR FORCE BASE.

He always shall return.

1946:  ACTRESS PEGGY LIPTON IS BORN.

In her 70s now?  Wow, that's the Old Squad.

1963:  THE MOSCOW-WASHINGTON HOTLINE BETWEEN THE LEADERS OF THE USA AND THE SOVIET UNION GOES INTO OPERATION.

Collusion!!!!!!

1967:  THURGOOD MARSHALL IS CONFIRMED AS THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE US.

There goes the neighborhood.

1968:  ACTOR WILLIAM TALMAN DIES.

This time, it was lung cancer and not Perry Mason who beat him.

1972:  ACTRESS CAMERON DIAZ IS BORN.

45 this year.   I remember when we thought she was young.

1974:  A POWERFUL BOMB EXPLODES AT MITSUBISHI INDUSTRIES IN TOKYO.

Twenty-three TVs were killed.

1979:  ACTRESS JEAN SEBERG DIES.

Really breathless now.

1981:  DANCER VERA-ELLEN DIES.

A great unsung talent.   Focus on her next time you see "White Christmas."

1991:  AZERBAIJAN DECLARES INDEPENDENCE FROM THE SOVIET UNION.

More collusion!!!!

2006:  ACTOR GLENN FORD DIES.

The Demise of Eddie's Father.

2015:  FILM DIRECTOR WES CRAVEN DIES.

The nightmare you never wake up from.

Dinner last night:   Teriyaki stir fry vegetable bowl.




Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Maxine Waters Update

Jeez, you have to be pretty goddamn moronic to get two mentions in a single month on this blog.

But, of course, Maxine Waters goes over the top no matter what she does.

As you might recall, Auntie Maxine got to be my "Moron of the Month" for August 2017.   And no sooner did I give her this distinction but I found her parked in first class on my flight to New York.   Enjoying a smart cocktail at 8AM no less.  Her sizable entourage was sucking up the food in business class.   I also got to see them pile into a limousine at JFK Airport.   

As soon as I noticed this slob on my plane, I made an oh-so-rare political comment on Facebook.   Simply noting that yet another elected official was enjoying luxury at our expense.   I did not note that she was a Democrat.   To me, both sides are equally guilty when it comes to lavishing on themselves. Now I later learn that her visit to NY was to appear on "The View" so I assume they picked up the tab for this soiree in the sky.  I never ever watch those loony knuckleheads on "The View" and this episode would be no different.

What's your point, Len?

Well, that little Facebook notation caused quite a stir.  I had quite a few friends pile onto this Congressional fraud.   No surprise there.  But I also got attacked by several other Facebook friends who would probably support Benito Mussolini if there was a "D" at the end of his name.  How dare I attack this wonderful woman?  This, of course, came from people who don't live in her district where I hear her approval rating is not as high as you think.

I took the post down and pledged to never again make a semi-political comment on Facebook again.

And so censorship begins.   Along with the continued decline of our nation where there are only civil arguments when both people are on the same side of the aisle.

Meanwhile, in person, Maxine Waters looks every bit of the 79 or so years she's been trolling the Earth.

Dinner last night:  Leftover pizza.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Monday Morning Video Laugh - August 28, 2017

Praise Jesus!!!

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

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Sunday Memory Drawer - Hey, Lady!

Jerry Lewis died last Sunday and I'm wondering if France had a national day of mourning.   After all, they revered his act which, of course, makes that whole country suspect.

Now I read lots of accolades on Jerry's passing and they were all clearly from people who didn't know him.   I myself, in my own little spot of the universe, know four or five people who either worked with him or saw him in action.   They will testify under oath that he was a raging scumbag that should have dropped dead years ago.   But then, there's my personal trainer who met him while he was on the bell staff of a Ritz-Carlton and reports that he was the nicest guy he ever met.   Okay, maybe there was a big tip involved that influenced this affinity.

And then there's my own mother.   Ages ago, when she was working for the accounting firm that handled Jerry's pet charity muscular dystrophy, Mom actually worked on the famed telethon and got to meet him.   Now, prior to this, my mother looked at Jerry with great disdain.

"Raising money for all these poor kids and yet he makes fun of deformed people in his movies."

Yes, one could argue that.  Back when I was a kid, Jerry Lewis was a big deal and a huge box office draw at the movies.   Before I could go to the cinema by myself, my parents would take me regularly.   Mom would take me to all the Disney and Biblical movies.   My dad took me to all the war movies.   And, because somebody needed to go with me, my father got stuck accompanying me to the latest Jerry Lewis epic playing always at the Loews Theater on Stevens Avenue in Mount Vernon, New York.  Again, Mom sneered.

"Your father can take you to see that idiot."

And so he did.  

The Bellboy.

The Errand Boy.

Rock-a-Bye Baby.

The Ladies Man.

The Family Jewels.

For the release of the Nutty Professor, I was already set loose on my own and probably went with one of my neighborhood pals to see that.   The special attraction for that film was Jerry actually making an appearance in the middle of the movie live on the stage of the Mt. Vernon Loews.   In those days, stars did that to plug their films.   And when somebody from Hollywood came all the way to Stevens Avenue in my hometown, you paid attention.  

Indeed, I'm not sure what I liked about those Jerry Lewis escapades except that they were nothing but live action cartoons.  I've seen them in retrospect and I barely giggle, let alone laugh.  From my vantage point, Lewis was much better when he was teamed in a series of films with Dean Martin who could anchor his mayhem a bit.  But I was a little kid then and, for some bizarre dog whistle reason, he appealed to me.

And certainly not to my mother.   Until that one Labor Day where she had to work at his telethon which was still being broadcast from Manhattan.

"He's quite a guy."

When I asked Mom why, she was vague.

"I can't explain it."

And there it is.   Jerry Lewis perfectly described.   An enigma who you either loathed or...suddenly, in the case of my own mother...loved.

Dinner last night:  Sausage and olive pizza from Maria's Italian Kitchen.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Classic Movie Trailer of the Month - August 2017

Thirty years old this month.  Wow!

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

Friday, August 25, 2017

Ten More Reasons Why You Can't Trust the News










Dinner last night:   Hamburger.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Len's Recipe of the Month - August 2017

Now people who really know me are fully cognizant of the fact that I am not a fan of the sliced tomato.   Oh, I will eat tomato sauce and drink tomato juice or slurp up tomato soup.  Bruschetta is great.   Roasted tomatoes are terrific. Even a slice of tomato on a BLT sandwich is lovely.   Just don't ask me to eat a wedge of a tomato.

Unless, of course, if it's the month of August and your vines have tender tomatoes.   Most notably, I love the heirloom tomato at this time of year.

Knowing that, my neighbor who goes to lots of farmer's markets knocked on my door one recent afternoon.  He had three heirloom tomatoes in his hand and they were about a day away from being not fresh.  They were not going to use them.  Since I didn't have a planned dinner that night, I willingly took them in.

And completely improvised a meal that would be nothing but these tomatoes. So delicious.

Slice the heirlooms into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices.   Lay out on a cookie sheet. Drizzle first with some EVO.   A little sea salt.   A little oregano.   

I always keep three kinds of shredded cheese in my fridge at all times.   For this one, I sprinkled on top of each slice some shredded mozzarella and then some shredded parmesan.   Shove into your oven and use the broiler for about ten to fifteen minutes.   

You wind up with a great and healthy dinner.   Like little pizzas without the crust.  Next time, I am going to sit a slice of pepperoni under the cheese.   I bet that will be grand.

Tomatoes a la Len.   Or something like that.

Dinner last night:  Barbecue chopped salad with bacon.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

This Date in History - August 23

Happy birthday to Barbara Eden, out of the bottle again on a historical date that will surely test my typing abilities.  You will see what I mean.

30 BC:  AFTER THE SUCCESSFUL INVASION OF EGYPT, OCTAVIAN EXECUTES MARCUS ANTONIUS ANTYLLIS, ELDEST SON OF MARK ANTONY, AND CAESARION, THE ONLY SON OF JULIUS CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA.

Caesar and Liz Taylor had a kid?  That wasn't in the movie.

79 AD:  MOUNT VESUVIUS BEGINS STIRRING.

Lava to come.

634:  ABU BAKR DIES AT MEDIAN AND IS SUCCEEDED BY UMAR I.

Show of hands for all who care.   I see none.

1244:  SIEGE OF JERUSALEM - THE CITY'S CITADEL, THE TOWER OF DAVID, SURRENDERS TO KHWAREZMIAN EMPIRE.

Yes, I typed that.

1382:  SIEGE OF MOSCOW - THE GOLDEN HORDE LED BY TOKHTAMYSH LAYS SIEGE T THE CAPITAL OF THE GRAND DUCHY OF MOSCOW.

Typed that, too.

1541:  FRENCH EXPLORE JACQUES CARTIER LANDS NEAR QUEBEC CITY.

Jewelry store to come.

1572:  FRENCH WARS OF RELIGION - MOB VIOLENCE AGAINST THOUSANDS OF HUGUENOTS IN PARIS RESULTS IN THE ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S DAY MASSACRE.

Do we get that day off?

1650:  COLONEL GEORGE MONCK OF THE ENGLISH ARMY FORMS MONCK'S REGIMENT OF FOOT.

I give him the finger.

1775:  AMERICAN REVOLUTION - KING GEORGE III DELIVERS HIS PROCLAMATION OF REBELLION TO THE COURT OF ST. JAMES, STATING THAT THE AMERICAN COLONIES HAVE PROCEEDED TO A STATE OF OPEN AND DISAVOWED REBELLION.

Don't sweat it.   In over 225 years or so, you'll be happy to be rid of this dump of a nation.

1799:  NAPOLEON I OF FRANCES LEAVES EGYPT FOR FRANCE EN ROUTE TO SEIZING POWER.

Shrimp!

1831:  NAT TURNER'S SLAVE REBELLION IS SUPPRESSED.

They'll be back.  Trust me.

1901:  SIX HUNDRED AMERICAN SCHOOL TEACHERS, THOMASITES, ARRIVED IN MANILA ON THE USAT THOMAS.

USAT?  I wonder if that's where they got the idea for the pre-college exam.

1904:  THE AUTOMOBILE TIRE CHAIN IS PATENTED.

Where's that snowy hill?

1912:  ACTOR GENE KELLY IS BORN.

Another national holiday.

1926:  ACTOR RUDOLPH VALENTINO DIES.

And women faint all over town.

1927:  ITALIAN ANARCHISTS SACCO AND VANZETTI ARE EXECUTED AFTER A CONTROVERSIAL TRIAL.

Ciao!

1931:  ACTRESS BARBARA EDEN IS BORN.

This makes her 86 and probably hard to get into that outfit now.

1948:  WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES IS FORMED.

Here comes the collection plate.

1949:  ACTRESS SHELLEY LONG IS BORN.

Cheers!

1949:  ACTOR RICK SPRINGFIELD IS BORN.

Wow, he's much older than I thought.

1970:  ORGANIZED BY MEXICAN AMERICAN LABOR UNION LEADER CESAR CHAVEZ, THE SALAD BOWL STRIKE, THE LARGEST FARM WORKER STRIKE IN US HISTORY, BEGINS.

Go find your own romaine.

1978:  BASKETBALL STAR KOBE BRYANT IS BORN.

He saved the Laker franchise for a few years.

1987:  THE AMERICAN MALE BASKETBALL TEAM LOST THE GOLD MEDAL TO BRAZIL AT THE PAN AMERICAN GAMES IN INDIANAPOLIS, 120-115.

Who cares????

1990:  MUSICIAN DAVID ROSE DIES.

Take it off.   Take it all off.

1990:  SADDAM HUSSEIN APPEARS ON IRAQI TELEVISION WITH A NUMBER OF WESTERN GUESTS, ACTUALLY HOSTAGES.

I'd watch this over the View any day.

1990:  WEST AND EAST GERMANY ANNOUNCE THAT THEY WILL REUNITE ON OCTOBER 3.

Just in time for the baseball playoffs.

1991:  THE WORLD WIDE WEB IS OPENED TO THE PUBLIC.

For the last time.....this didn't involve Al Gore.

2002:  BASEBALL PITCHER HOYT WILHELM DIES.

Strike three.

2003:  BASEBALL STAR BOBBY BONDS DIES.

Never lived to see his son not get into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

2016:  ACTOR STEVEN HILL DIES.

The very first star of "Mission:Impossible."

Dinner last night: Spinach, mushrooms, and onions sauteed in garlic and EVO.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Yay! I FInished Reading Another Book - "The Reporter Who Knew Too Much" by Mark Shaw

Yep, I finally finished a book in 2017.  Given that it's August, I am not proud of this.

As regular readers here know, I don't read enough.  I buy books that intrigue me and some sit on shelves uncracked for years.  Such was the case of this non-fiction work by legal eagle Mark Shaw.  You can understand my attraction.  One of my guilty pleasures is the old TV game show "What's My Line."  It's easy to get sucked into that: virtually every episode is available on a You Tube channel. The other focus of this book is the JFK assassination and I have long been obsessed with that.

Once I opened "The Reporter Who Knew Too Much," I read it in about four hours.   Could.  Not.  Put.  It.  Down.  Wow.

Mark Shaw is a former criminal defense attorney and has also worked for some cable news networks. Fifty years after the suspicious death of famed newspaper reporter/columnist/TV panelist Dorothy Kilgallen, Shaw wanted to honor the hard-nosed, inquisitive aspects of Dorothy by totally investigating her demise. And, in a style and format reminiscent of your favorite CSI show, he does an amazing job laying it all out in the hopes that the Manhattan, NY DA office will reopen an investigation into this ice cold case.

For those of you in a condo under a rock, Dorothy Kilgallen was more than just a classy dame wearing a blindfold and trying to figure out a mystery guest on CBS every Sunday night at 1030PM.   She was a tenacious journalist back in the days when there was no fake news. After November 22, 1963, Kilgallen doggedly delved into the Warren Commission report and figured out there was something rotten in both Denmark and Dallas when the notion was pushed that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone culprit.   After meeting with Oswald killer/stooge Jack Ruby, Kilgallen was onto something that was stored in her secret files.   

Fast forward to November 1965 and she is found dead in bed, apparently done in by an accidental mix of drugs and booze.   The file is also gone.  Hmmm. Don't you want to see this filmed?

In a painstakingly precise manner, Shaw presents all the possible scenarios presented by the inconsistencies of the NY police, the Medical Examiner, and just about anybody who touched this case.   Luckily, there are some Kilgallen associates still around to provide background.  It is clear that she was likely done in for knowing too much about what really happened to JFK.   But, by whom?

The FBI?

The CIA?

The Mafia?

A jealous husband?

A mystery man/lover named Ron Pataky who she allegedly rendezvoused with the night she died?

And what about how she was found dead in her bed?   In an outfit she wouldn't have been caught dead in, ahem?   With the air conditioning running on a cold November night?  With a particular drug in her system that she never took?

Unfortunately, the book can offer only hypotheses but it is terrific in its presentation of all of them.

Try to put this book down when you start it.   I dare you.   And then tell me that you still think the JFK murder wasn't an out-and-out conspiracy.

Bravo, Mark Shaw.   You did Dorothy proud.

Dinner last night: Leftover bratwurst and veggies.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday Morning Video Laugh - August 21, 2017

A brilliant piece of business from the Ricardos' trip to Paris.

Dinner last night:  Bratwurst, red cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Sunday Memory Drawer - Dance Fever

Yeah, that's not me.   Not hardly.  With arthritis now landing squarely on both of my knee joints, I'm already thinking about things that I won't be able to do when I'm 84.  Dancing will be likely be one of them.

But, then again, there's been this love-hate relationship with choreography.   In my younger days, it was mostly hate.   But things happen over time.   Follow me as I trace the...ahem...steps.

When I was a kid, my dabbles into hoofing were as misguided as it looks up at the top of this entry.  There was always impromptu dancing at family parties and I provided the perfect photo opportunity/comic relief.

"Here, have Lenny do the polka with __________."

"Put your cheeks together like you're doing the tango."

"Awwww, it's like you're Fred Astaire and _________ is Ginger Rogers.  How cute!"

How f-ing mortifying.

At wedding receptions, it was even worse.  I was thrown together with either a relative that was either much, much younger or much, much older.

"Come on, Lenny, dance with me a little."

You walk with a cane, you're a little drunk, and your dress smells like moth balls.  Umm, no thanks.

I'd sit in a corner.  Feet motionlessly dangling off the chair.  Wondering what the Mets were doing and, oh, yeah, pondering what all this fuss with dancing was all about.

Once I got to high school, I was even more confused.  Dancing was less formal and certainly more gyrations than anything else.  I think there might have been dances in school, but I never went.  I was convinced that I didn't know how.  Was there a right way to do this?  Were these dance steps communicated in back rooms and in alleys?  Did somebody whisper to you in secret just how to dance? 

Self esteem headed to the basement floor.  So, I retreated to my usual comfort zone.

I'd sit in a corner.  Feet motionlessly dangling off the chair. Wondering what the Mets were doing and, oh, yeah, pondering what all this fuss with dancing was all about.

Fordham University followed and the added horror of a college mixer entered my world.  Well, at least, I could be bored and drink beer to ease me through the torture of standing idly around the Ramskeller, which was the name of the Rose Hill campus' flesh co-mingling establishment.

And, still, I looked at this dancing thing and was convinced that there was something carefully organized to its every movement.

And, then, a visit from an angel.  Well, actually, my good college friend, Lorraine, who was as socially adept and in-tune as one could be. 

One Saturday night, I was hovering over the Ramskeller dance floor with some friends.  Emphasis on the "hovering."  Lorraine was out there.  A-bumping and a-jiving to some cover band that had its musical roots in some garage on Katonah Avenue.  Lorraine saw me languishing on the sidelines and waved to me.

"Come on and dance."

I looked behind me.  Who was she talking to?  Oh, crap, do you mean me?

In pantomine, I let her know that I didn't know how to do what she was doing. 

Lorraine pouted.  And pointed to the floor in front of her.  This was apparently an order to appear.

I gingerly stepped onto the dance floor and waited for buzzers to go off from my mere presence amongst the twisting and turning sophomores.  I told Lorraine that I didn't know how to dance.

"Like I do?  Just move around and do whatever makes you comfortable."

I turned to the left.  I turned to the right.  I turned to the left.  I turned to the right.  I put in a little bit of a sway.

"You're doing great, Lenny."

Oh, really.  Because I didn't know what the fuck I was doing.

Except, after about two minutes of my flailing like a mosquito dying on a car windshield, I made a startling realization.

I liked what I was doing.

And I was out on the dance floor for the rest of the night. 

Missing out on a campus mixer suddenly became an alien thought to me.  Once I knew there were no rules, I danced like...well, there were no rules.

Of course, becoming a semi-fixture at these events would have its potholes.  Take, for instance, the evening I was dancing with one girl who had a crush on me.  The feeling was not, as one would say, mutual.  But, she was open to dancing so why not?  I could easily be out on the floor, gyrating with her but also looking around and checking out the other "talent" available that evening. 

What do you want?  I was a guy.

Suddenly, the dance of sheer and rapid frenzy morphed into a sudden and unexpected slow song.  Ummm, okay, moving on....

But, before I had the chance to go over the prison wall, her hands were quickly on the back of my neck and her arms draped over me like shoulder pads.  This was the slowest of the slow dances.  My partner had seized the opportunity for some close and personal contact.

Okay, so I need to modify how I do this dancing stuff and make sure that I'm not left wide open for these sneak attacks.

Over the years, there are some dancing memories that samba to the forefront of the supper club in my mind.

There was the best New Year's Eve I have ever had.  Dateless and dancing to oldies at a New York City club with a few friends and a whole lot of strangers.

There was the evening when a friend and I decided to go listen to what is now passing as the Glenn Miller Orchestra.  The whole place was decked out to resemble a dance hall during World War II.  A couple of the folks there even showed up in their old military garb, albeit with a button or two missing.   It didn't take long for us to figure out that this was not the venue for two casual dancers to hit the boards.  We were the youngest people by about twenty years and those dancers were serious about their jitterbugging.  I spent the evening as if I were back in high school.

Sitting in a corner. Feet motionlessly dangling off the chair. Wondering what the Mets were doing and, oh, yeah, pondering what all this fuss with dancing was all about.

Even slow dancing could be tolerated in later years.  Well, as long as it was with the right person.  I remember going to the wedding of a female friend in Connecticut.  I was invited with a "plus one" and this one was legit for a change.  A girl I actually was dating fairly seriously.  Except it didn't exactly become serious until that very day.  In the middle of a slow dance at the reception. 

Once again, I was blindsided by the sudden move of my date.  Oh, we're going to do that?  Here?  In the middle of all these people????

Yeah, I guess so.

I glanced over to the sidelines where the bride's mother sat.  Eyeing me suspiciously and likely wondering why I had brought a brazen hooker to her daughter's special day.

Indeed, though, my very favorite dancing memory was of an evening when I didn't move an inch onto the dance floor.  I zip back to a summer night between junior and senior year in college.

The school year had ended but fun had not subsided.  In the middle of it all once again was my pal Lorraine who loved to organize social outings.  She was a perfect conduit.  Lorraine had lots of girlfriends.  My guy friends and I didn't have a lot of girlfriends.  Mix and match.  Hanging out in a group and there were actually two genders represented.  Ideal for grinding it out to music in some Long Island disco.

As luck would have it, I now was on the offensive line of a crush.  One of those girlfriends struck my fancy.  Like an anvil.  This would be an ideal venue to, umm, get together.

And, going back to the very spot and reference where this blog entry started, disaster!

It was the first ever flare-up of my right knee, which I had originally injured during the very first gym class of my senior year in high school.  Dance?  Shit, I could barely walk.  My jeans fit around my right leg like a watermelon would fit into the eye of a needle.  So much for the disco night.  And perhaps even getting into the car to get there.  I envisioned being strapped to the hood like a dead deer shot on opening day of the hunting season in the Adirondacks.

I should have stayed home.

But, still....

Well, love will do that sort of thing to you.  Actually, in this case, like would do that sort of thing to me.

Somehow, I shimmied into my clubbing clothes and I might even have ridden there in somebody's car trunk.  But, I went.  And, as I lumbered into another world of strobe lights and crappy music, I pondered my next move.  I would be relegated to an evening of watching everybody else dance.

Suddenly, I was back in high school again.

Yeppers.

Sitting in a corner. Feet motionlessly dangling off the chair. Wondering what the Mets were doing and, oh, yeah, pondering what all this fuss with dancing was all about.  Especially when all my friends would be out there doing it while I sat there alone, watching the ice cubes in my drink melt.

"I don't need to dance.  I'll sit here and keep you company."

It was my crush-ee.  The object of my intended affection.

Suddenly, I melted faster than the ice cubes.  And the pain in my right knee disappeared instantly.

Dancing is fun.  Not dancing also had its rewards.

Dinner last night:   Bacon burger at Shake Shack.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Classic TV Theme of the Month - August 2017

Premiered forty years ago this fall.   Why isn't this show rerun more?

Dinner last night:  Bacon and cheddar omelet.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Your Weekend Movie Guide for August 2017

Fifty years ago this summer, "Barefoot in the Park" was the big summer attraction at Radio City Music Hall.  Light and breezy entertainment with no super heroes or explosions or F bombs.  Perfect for the whole family, although a lot of the double entendre jokes went over my head at the time.

Summer is the time to escape to the movies.  These days, you might want to escape from the theaters with all the super heroes and explosions and F bombs. You know the monthly routine, kids.  I'll sift through the LA Times movie pages and give you my knee-jerk reaction to what's polluting our cinemas in August 2017.

Trust me, it ain't going to be light and breezy.

Gook:   I can only imagine.

An Inconvenient Sequel - Truth to Power:   One campaign that Al Gore does always win?   The one for Oscar.

Detroit:   Reliving the riots of the 60s.   For those who find the riots of 2017 boring.

Atomic Blonde:   Blog reviewed the other day.   It's better on CD than DVD.  

The Dark Tower:   Something something by Stephen King.  Boo...and yawn.

Dunkirk:   Christopher Nolan ruined Batman and now he has messed up World War II.

The Big Sick:  Reviewed here several weeks ago.   Might be my favorite movie so far this year.

War for Planet of the Apes:   Compared to everything going on these days, monkeys would be an improvement.

The Emoji Movie:  😝

The Glass Castle:  A young girl comes of age in a dysfunctional family of nonconformist nomads with a mother who's an eccentric artist and an alcoholic father who's.....oh, God, no.

The Nut Job 2:   There was such a thing as the Nut Job 1?

Annabelle - Creation:  A horror movie that involves orphans, dolls, and a nun. Sounds like the start of a great joke.

Kidnap:  Halle Berry is looking for her son who may have been abducted.   Along with her career.

Columbus:  John Cho as a scholar who finds himself stuck in Columbus, Indiana.   Yep, that's the plot.

Wind River:   The FBI investigates a murder on an Indian reservation.   Oh, wait,  Native American.   

Good Time:  A bank robbery gone wrong.   That's all I could find.

The Trip to Spain:  Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon embark on a six-part episodic road trip through Spain, sampling the restaurants, eateries, and sights along the way.  Didn't I see this on the Travel Channel?

Step:  A documentary about a girls high school step team based in inner city Baltimore.   Let me guess....they win?

The Hitman's Bodyguard:   Ryan Reynolds, Gary Oldman, and Samuel L. Jackson.   Okay, you lost me with the last guy.

Logan Lucky: Channing Tatum and Adam Driver as NASCAR drivers planning a heist.   Sounds interesting, but I refer you to my standing policy of never ever going to a movie that includes Channing Tatum.

Marjorie Prime:   A dying old lady conjures up a computerized version of her husband.   Control-alt-delete.

Planetarium:   Psychic sisters in pre-World War II France.   Predictable.

Lemon:   An actor considers his failing career.   His first name is not Jack.

Dave Made a Maze:   And I don't care.

The Ice Cream Truck:  Good Humor goes on a killing spree.   Seriously, that's the plot.

Patti Cakes:  A plus-sized white girl from New Jersey seeks a career as a rapper.  For those who wondered what Janice Soprano was up to.

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


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.