Where to begin?

1996 - Mom & Dad's back yard
1996 – Mom & Dad’s back yard

This over-exposed picture was taken in 1996, and is a shot of my parent’s back yard. I haven’t been back there since the house was sold, about a decade ago.

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I have really been having a hard time coming up with things to post recently. That’s why there hasn’t been much posted. But unless I give up on the blog completely, I need to start posting again. Today I’ll talk about movies and TV shows I’ve been watching on DVD lately.

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I watched the Sci-Fi channel’s Tin Man mini-series from 2007. I’m not sure why I didn’t watch it when it was on originally, unless it was because I didn’t want to dedicate six hours of my life to a mini-series back then. I found a Blu Ray DVD of the mini-series on sale recently, so I spent four hours watching on Saturday, and then watched the remainder on Sunday. I truly enjoyed it, so the sale purchase was worth it to me.

There is one scene in the first two-hour segment of the show that made me sit up and take notice. I had heard of Zooey Deschenel, but had never watched her in anything, nor had I heard her sing (still haven’t for that matter).  In the scene I’m talking about, she is wearing a party dress and has a flower in her hair. I swear she looked like a Linda Ronstadt photo from the album Simple Dreams. If I didn’t know better, I would have guessed that they were mother and daughter.

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I was in a movie mood this morning, so I popped in a pirated copy of And Lee’s Hulk. About twenty minutes into the movie the language changed from English to French. That was a surprise. Rather than try to translate the dialogue from facial expressions, I gave up on the movie. This isn’t the first bad experience I’ve had with a pirated movie. I once bought a copy of what I believe to be a pirated version of one of Buster Crabbe’s Flash Gordon serials. The first episode was fine, but when I went on to the second episode, there was no sound at all. No English, no French, not even the pop and sizzle of the rocket ships.

Since today is Halloween, I went for a movie that better reflected the day, and my mood. I put in the original Karloff Frankenstein. It isn’t my favorite movie in the series; that would be Son Of Frankenstein with Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, Richard Greene and others.

An interesting, to me, piece of trivia is that in 1939 Rathbone and Atwill both appeared in Son Of Frankenstein and The Hound Of The Baskervilles. I have always thought that the scene in The Hound Of The Baskervilles where the hound chases Richard Greene through the moors is scarier than anything in Frankenstein.

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One last item, this one from television, is the documentary Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle that was on PBS a while back. There were a number of commentators in the documentary whose name I recognized as comic book writers, artists, and editors from the days when I was a collector (and more importantly a reader). I was surprised by the captions under their pictures that identified them as Comic Book Historian. You probably couldn’t count on the fingers of two hands the number of comic book historians, unless you count the French. when I was growing up. Now it seems to be an over-crowded field. Of course, that’s just my take on it.

Jerks

Another great looking house
Another great looking house

This town and the surrounding area are full of beautiful old houses. Between the houses and the barns I could fill a book with photos.

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I haven’t posted anything in a while. My mind has been on other things. Mainly I’ve been thinking about a local political jerk (boy, that narrows it down), and my thought shouldn’t be seen in a blog that is supposed to be family friendly. Perhaps someday I’ll find the proper words, or at least the proper state of mind.

Instead let me expand to national politicians; the term “jerk” still applies to all and sundry. What did the shut down of most of the government achieve? Inconvenience to many citizens and outright hurt to some (I’m thinking of the WIC program). It did allow the politicians to spout off for the cameras, so they didn’t feel any pain. It allowed most of the political pundits to focus on the wrong thing; i.e. the political ramifications rather than the human ramifications.

I have probably mentioned in the past that I believe Gerrymandering is a great political evil in this country. It allows a 90% reelection percentage for Congressional House incumbents. As Charlie Cool stated, it allows the people in Congress to pick their voters, not the voters picking their representatives. That’s true of both Democrats and Republicans. I haven’t thought this through completely, but I believe it has also made the primary elections more important than the general elections.

I haven’t heard any pundit state that proposition explicitly (I must admit that I don’t watch the Fox network for fear of dying either from laughing too hard or from an apoplectic fit) but they all seem to imply it. I can’t believe that all of the founding fathers had that outcome in mind. Of course, I could be wrong…it is politics.

Strange Days

Abandoned
Abandoned

Admit it, blank and white photos of abandoned buildings are spookier than color shots. It is just a fact.

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I was listening to The Doors earlier, and realized that when Strange Days started playing it was fitting my mood, if not my life. I need The Doors to help bring me back to Rock, because they were one of the bands that seemed, to me, to move away from Pop to real Rock. I’m not saying that they didn’t have Pop hooks in their lyrics, because they did, but their instrumental play moved away from the standard stuff we were hearing, and carried the lyrics with the instruments. I’m not sure I can explain it any better than that.

Getting back to Strange Days, I told you about the finches disappearing from our back yard; here’s something else. Cindy and I procrastinated on putting the cover on the pool this year. Mainly it was because I forgot to buy a new cover; the old one was shredded by spring and I had put it in the recycling. So I got around to buying a new cover. Then we put off putting the new cover on, and then I had to dip leaves out of the pool before pouring in chlorine and covering the pool. I went out Saturday morning to dip leaves one last time. As I was dipping I realized that one net full of leaves actually held more than just leaves. Their was a dead squirrel in the net as well. Over the years I’ve occasionally found a dead bird, but this was the first squirrel in the eleven years we’ve lived here.

I didn’t do a post-mortem on the squirrel, but I have a theory on what happened. I think, if I’m right, that I’ll only share my findings with a select few. There is no need to rile up the masses. I’ll just say that my theory fits in to the whole Halloween season.

And speaking of Halloween, I am ready to pronounce that the season is upon us. It wasn’t upon us when merchants started selling paraphernalia during the Labor day weekend or earlier. And they have been selling Christmas decorations almost as long. Disgusting.

Fickle Finches

Barn southwest of Lafayette
Barn southwest of Lafayette

I took this picture about a week ago. It was a beautiful day for driving, so I took advantage of the day and went into the countryside. I hope there are more days like it, because the leaves are starting to change, and I want to get some good shots of the trees.

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There have been no finches in our backyard for at least a week. I let the feeder go empty for about thirty-six hours, then refilled it, but they haven’t been back. The feeder is as full now as it was when I refilled it. That’s why I’m calling this post Fickle Finches. Perhaps a cat has taken up residence under our shed, but the finches could fly away before any cat could get to them…unless the cat leapt from the roof of the house. I have never seen the finches on the ground, just on the feeder or the iron hanger that the feeder is on. No, I’m pretty sure that the finches are just avoiding our backyard for the time being.

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I have been receiving a greater number of catalogs for DVDs recently. While seldom purchase DVDs from catalogs I do enjoy thumbing through them and reading the descriptions. Movie characters seem to lead exciting lives. Here are the descriptions of three movie DVDs that I read the other night. I haven’t included the title of the three movies.

“A plane carrying a big game hunter, a mining engineer, a beautiful divorcee and more encounters a swarm of locusts and crashes in a remote area of South Africa.”

Aren’t all movie divorcees beautiful?

“A Viking Chief takes a beautiful Tartar maid captive after he kills a powerful Russian Tartar. But a Tartar overlord retaliates by kidnapping the Chief’s wife and holding her hostage.”

I had to read about the Vikings and Tartars three times before I understood what it was saying.

“After loyalists attack a train taking Sharif, an Arab nationalist leader, to prison, he is able to escape. He then leads himself and other escapees, including an American embezzler and a sadistic maniac, across the desert. A young student assists him in his rebel cause.”

I am glad that Sharif was able to lead himself.

Some of this, some of that

Post-harvest
Post-harvest

I don’t know how it happened, but there was no picture in my most recent previous post. I had this picture picked out (I realized the pun after I keyboarded it), but failed to use it. I guess it is better late than never,

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Yesterday I received an email inviting to participate in a spontaneous demonstration in front of our Congressman’s office. I thought it was a good idea, a flash mob, type of demonstration, but then I read that it wasn’t taking place until this afternoon. What part of spontaneous are they missing? It saddens me to report that I agree with the “why” of the demonstration, but this degree of planning limits the spontaneity of the event. The email did say we should make our own signs, so I guess that is where we are allowed to be spontaneous. Perhaps I should prepare a sign that says “No funding for those who misuse the English language.” But then I would need someone to follow me bearing a sign that reads “Not to imply that English should be our national language.” I don’t know whether to blame the politically motivated or the schools.

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I was browsing through a catalog that came in the mail the other day. It was a catalog featuring music CDs. I have been pleased to note that for the past year or two they have also been selling re-pressed vinyl LPs for the connoisseurs. I was amazed, however to see that in this catalog they were selling special edition Mono LPs. I am pretty sure that my grandchildren, and probably my step-children wouldn’t understand the concept of a Mono LP.

I started reading Janis Ian’s autobiography, Society’s Child yesterday and found out that I wasn’t the only kid buying Mono LPs because they were usually a dollar cheaper than Stereo LPs. I think that puts me in good company. I won’t give you a book report, but I find the book interesting, though I can’t declare the prose as riveting. I’m only starting Chapter 3, so it may get better.

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A couple of weeks ago, when I was watching CBS Sunday Morning they were interviewing the actor Tim Robbins. I’ve enjoyed some of his movies, Bull Durham springs to mind. I was surprised to learn that his father was Gil Robbins, a member of The Highwaymen (the folk group, not the Cash, Kristofferson, Nelson, Jennings name stealers). I believe I like Tim Robbins even more now that I know he has good roots.

Words

You can probably tell that this isn’t the same field that was in yesterday’s photo, but it isn’t too far from it. I wanted to get a shot of the corn picker at work, but it wasn’t to be. I may still find one; the harvest isn’t finished.

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I may have covered the following words and phrases in previous posts, but I’m getting worked up over them again, so bear with me.

1) I like to think that I have a family doctor. Unfortunately, insurance companies and politicians believe that I have, instead, either a primary care physician or, more mundanely, a health care professional. I understand that the latter two terms are not synonymous, but I also understand that neither term carries the trust and the warmth that you get with “family doctor.” I know that I would rather be paying my family doctor as opposed to a health care professional.

2) When did it become OK to say “refi” rather than “refinance?” or “vaca” instead of “vacation?” I hear these pseudo-words being used on television and the radio, but I have never heard a real person use them in conversation. Perhaps it is an east coast/west coast usage issue. All I know is that when I hear them on TV or radio I want to say, “What the…?”

What do you think? Am I just letting my fuddy-duddyism run rampant?

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Here are a few more words that I want to use in  posts, but I haven’t found the right time or topic yet:

1) Incipient. I seldom compose about things in their incipient stage, so there is no reason to use the word…but I want to.

2) Flamboyant. One would think I could find any number of reasons to use this word, but so far…nope. But I haven’t given up hope.

3) Paradiddle. I don’t play the drums and it has been a long time since I’ve known anyone who does play them, so there has been no need to use the word. But I like it. Maybe I can post about Buddy Rich and/or Joe Morello and work it in somewhere. I’ll think about that.