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Jerry Lewis RIP

By now, most of you have probably heard.

Jerry Lewis has passed.  At age 91.

Like so many comedians/comic actors he had amazing range and talent.  Some Hollywood types are a one-trick pony.  Jerry certainly wasn’t.  Have you seen King of Comedy?

After his split from straight man Dean Martin, it was publicly asked, “What’s Dean going to do?”  😛

My lovely sister was in one of his movies.  The Nutty Professor (the original in 1961) filmed exteriors on Arizona State University campus.  My sister was one of the extras!  Unfortunately, her scenes were cut!  She still adored the man.

Then, there was his long commitment to the Muscular Dystrophy charity.  How giving was this man?

I’ll leave you with this.  When I heard he had passed, I imagined him just like this, sneaking into the Supreme Being’s conference room and pantomiming again, to Count Basie…

Keep ’em laughing Jerry!

The Wire 

As recounted here in previous episodes, I LIKE movies and TV.

Also recounted, I don’t always access current stuff, i.e I didn’t watch Star Trek (TOS) in prime time; the mini-series John Adams until years after the fact.

So it was with The Wire. Dave (the mechanic) recommended it highly.  I don’t think I had HBO when it was first broadcast…

We found ourselves ‘between seasons’ on regular, commercial television.  And had been re-running shows we liked (ranging from Friends to Person-of-Interest) until we started mumbling the dialog under our breath.

Thank God for ‘The Hopper™’!

It was time for something new, to us at least.

And we remembered The Wire

Five years, sixty episodes. Gritty inner city drama about the workings of the police, unions, organized crime and politics.

Sax and violins galore.

With no censor (it was HBO, after all)!

If I had $1 for every time I heard the word M…..F…..

Well, you get the idea.

Well cast and acted. A tight script which kept you guessing.  Some good guys who were bad – some misguided.  Some bad guys trying to be good. Others just evil.

The Internet tells us many of the background cast we actual people from the street.  I’m certain this lowered production costs, but also added to the realism.

I recommend it.  But make certain the children are asleep in their beds.

In another State.

Lest they listen and start repeating M…..F……

Or the ubiquitous ‘N’ word!

MST3K

(that’s GEEK for Mystery Science Theater 3000!)  😅

As most of you know, I love TV and movies.  And, being disabled (with limited funds), I am constantly on the prowl for something different to watch.

(For something to do besides hang out on the Internet.)

Some years ago, I heard about MST3K, and was lucky enough to have access to it.

THE PREMISE (wikilink)

Hard to imagine this came about from a tight crew of messed up college guys talking back to the TV while watching cheesy movies!

Now, in it’s (third?) incarnation on Netflix.

A (short) example:

If your geeky, and in need of a good guffaw, I highly recommend it.

It is NOT for the serious!  😛

 

Biological Warfare

(from The Feral Irishman)

A person “passed gas” Sunday afternoon on an American Airlines jet forcing all passengers to deplane. The incident caused nausea and headaches and complaints from passengers that they felt “ill”.

Click HERE for the story/
How sad that this reminded me of an incident from my distant past.
I was in Junior High (8th Grade?) in Mr. Procopchek’s Mechanical Drawing class.  We rotated mechanical drawing, metal shop and wood shop each semester.
And, being a shop class, it was all boys.  This was 1964-65.
And, in the middle of class, Phil Cupp cut one.  Seriously long and loud, from the back of the classroom (I almost wrote from the rear! 🙂 )
And the guys began giggling and retching, as the unseen biological cloud of death wafted it’s way toward the front of the class.
And Mr. Procopchek became more and more annoyed, asking us to keep working and to act like adults.
That is, of course, until the cloud reached his desk at the front of the class!
He made a face, cracked the windows, and told us to exit in an orderly fashion for a few minutes…
Seriously.  Chemical warfare or terrorism!
Phil was a classroom god for the next week or so.
It was that easy to impress junior high boys.

A.M.A. (Against Medical Advice)

Or rather A.G.A. (Against Guffaw’s Advice)!

A while back, my friend Borepatch (who definitely has a right to such opinions in such matters) wrote regarding the acquiring and use of Siri, Google Now, Cortana or Alexa.

Or their fellow travelers.

I warned my roommate of such folly.

BUT, she is addicted to newfangled gadgets (as best she can afford them)!

(And, it IS her home, and she supplies the Wi-Fi…)

THIS arrived in the mail yesterday.  Apparently, there was a sale

It’s an Alexa (Echo) device (‘courtesy’ of Amazon)

(aka, “the electronic hockey puck of EVIL!” – spoken in Don Adams’ Maxwell Smart voice)

Sigh.

There’s a cartoon somewhere (unfortunately, I couldn’t find it) showing government agents discussing how citizens will place wiretaps/bugging devices in their own homes voluntarily, and will allow them to record conversations and Internet activity with ease!

They were gleeful!

I am not.  😦

Sigh.

 

Spoiler Alert!

As I grew up doing magic (eventually becoming semi-pro in my teens), I know many secrets – even if I cannot perform them personally.  😛

And, sadly, knowledge kinda ruins watching other magicians!  I’m looking for the gimmick, misdirection, the gaffe, the secret – other than just enjoying the performance for entertainment sake.

It takes an unusual talent to keep me interested in the actual performance.

I am also an AZDPS certified/NRA trained instructor.  And have trained people professionally in safe gun-handling and proper techniques.  I also shot in IPSC competition for a short time.

The point being, while I’m no big-time trainer/shooter, I have been around.

And, this has spoiled many TV shows and movies for me.

It’s hard for me to suspend my disbelief when I see a magician perform poorly (and not on purpose for comedy, ala Carl Balantine!)

The same thing applies to gun handling from Hollywood.

In recent memory, the TV show 24, with the counter-terrorist expert Jack Bauer (played by Kiefer Sutherland) holding his pistol as a cup-and-saucer.  Obviously, the set firearms trainer didn’t bother, or the actor didn’t care!

To be fair, Hollywood has generally improved in this area – Michael Mann with Miami Vice and Heat brought in weapons experts.  We don’t see the ‘grabbing the wrist’ thing as much as we once did.

I’ve been binge watching Bosch on Amazon.  Based on Michael Connolly’s book character, the plots are generally riveting and well acted.  And Titus Welliver as the lead is pretty good, as a driven, ‘colors-outside-the-lines’ LAPD detective.

But, they had a big parking lot gun fight last night (Season 2), and many of the ‘professionals’ (both mobsters and cops) confused concealment with cover, and kept doing the jack-in-the-box thing (jumping up from behind something to return fire).

Smile for the camera!

It kinda took the wind out of my sails…

I plan on continuing to watch it, and hope the acting and the plot hide the poor action sequences.

Also, the lead character wears two extra 1911 magazines – placed backwards in the mag pouch (about half the time), making tactical reloads problematic!

I know – picky, picky, picky

Bosch

 

 

 

Dangerous Things For Kids!

(from The Art of Manliness, in part)

Even though the modern world isn’t any more dangerous than it was thirty or forty years ago, it feels like a more perilous place. Or, more accurately, we inhabit the world today in a way that’s much more risk averse; for a variety of very interesting and nuanced reasons, our tolerance for risk, especially concerning our children’s safety, has steadily declined.  So we remove jungle gyms from playgrounds, ban football at recess, prohibit knives (even the butter variety) at school, and would rather have our kids playing with an iPad than rummaging through the garage or roaming around the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, as we discussed in-depth earlier this year, when you control for one set of risks, another simply arises in its place. In this case, in trying to prevent some bruises and broken bones, we also inhibit our children’s development of autonomy, competence, confidence, and resilience. In pulling them back from firsthand experiences, from handling tangible materials and demonstrating concrete efficacy, we ensconce them in a life of abstraction rather than action. By insisting on doing everything ourselves, because we can do things better and more safely, we deprive kids of the chance to make and test observations, to experiment and tinker, to fail and bounce back. In treating everything like a major risk, we prevent kids from learning how to judge the truly dangerous, from the simply unfamiliar.

Fortunately, we can restore the positive traits that have been smothered by overprotective parenting, by restoring some of the “dangerous” activities that have lately gone missing from childhood. The suggestions below on this score were taken both from 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do), as well as memories from my own more “free range” childhood. If you grew up a few decades back, these activities may seem “obvious” to you, but they’re less a part of kids’ lives today, and hopefully these reminders can help spark their revival.  While each contains a element of danger and chance of injury, these risks can be thoroughly mitigated and managed by you, the parent: Permit or disallow activities based on your child’s individual age, maturity level, and abilities. Take necessary precautions (which are common sense and which I’m not going to entirely spell out for you; you’re a grown-up, not a moron). Teach and demonstrate correct principles, and supervise some practice runs. Once you’ve created this scaffolding of safety, however, try to step back and give your child some independence. Step in only when a real danger exists, or when your adult strength/dexterity/know-how is absolutely necessary. And don’t be afraid to let your kids fail. That’s how they learn and become more resilient.

In return for letting your children grapple with a little bit of healthy risk, the activities below teach motor skills, develop confidence, and get kids acquainted with the use of tools and some of the basic principles of science. Outside any educational justification, however, they’re just plain fun — something we’ve forgotten can be a worthy childhood pursuit in and of itself!

23 Dangerous Things You Should Let You Kids Do

Unlike many of you out there, I grew up in a city.  And, my Dad was largely absent.  I was given boundaries, though.  Don’t cross these streets; Don’t play with these kids;  Let us know where you are;   Be home for dinner @ 6 o’clock.

Other than that, I was pretty much left to my own devices.  Playing in old abandoned houses and construction sites, climbing into open manholes and irrigation conduits.  Picking through discarded trash for treasures.  Making rocket fuel and fireworks.  Dissecting unexploded fireworks.  Dirt clod fights.  Rubber band guns with projectiles!

I wasn’t foolhardy, but I wasn’t a namby-pamby either!

I remember when my Dad’s .22 rifle went missing.  He accused me of taking it, but was most upset I hadn’t asked! (I didn’t take it – it was stolen and later recovered by the PD)

From what I’ve observed, most kids (and most adults) don’t play outside or explore anymore.  Instead, they are inside getting carpal tunnel…

(And not in the traditional way!  😛 )

Toss your kid outside, without their electronics.  And tell ’em not to return until dinner-time.

They might learn something!

Refinding Music And Tech

I’ve always been behind the times in both music and technology to deliver said music.  Especially since I got married in my late twenties and had a family and a job, with all the requisite trials and tribulations therein.

I had (and still have) vinyl, went to cassettes, then CDs.  I bought an MP3 player in the early 2000s.  But never had the money to fill it.

Life.  It’s both a cereal and a board game.  And my listening to music got somehow waylaid.  😦

But, I’m here alone in my rented room, doing my morning routine with the blog.  And something was missing.

I tried Pandora for a while, but it never hooked me.

J. told me recently about Spotify.  So, I thought I’d give it a try.  On both my PC and my new cell phone!  (NOW with earbuds that actually fit!)

Maybe I’ve missed ‘my’ music too much, but now I’m immersed in it via Spotify.  Free, with a few commercials every so often.  Or, one can pay.

Of course, I’ve no funds.

So, FREE it is!

Currently, I’ve been vacillating between Dave Brubeck, Gordon Lightfoot, and the Person of Interest soundtrack.

Yeah, I’m eclectic!

😛

(FTC – Spotify gave me nothing save the free music they give everyone!  go away!)

 

Eons Ago, In a Gun Store…

More specifically, Don’s Sport Shop, in Scottsdale…

Dave the mechanic and I were ‘window shopping’ (both being young and relatively poor, there was no way either of us could afford to purchase a firearm).

And we were checking out all the related gear, as well (hunting, fishing, camping), just because.

And there is was, a Jimmy Stewart Game Caller!

We spent subsequent hours (days, weeks, years) sharing with each other our impressions of Jimmy calling in game:

“A quack!, a quack! here duck, here duck!”

(Sadly, neither one of us could do even a passable imitation of Mr. Stewart – not that it mattered.)   😛

We re-visited Don’s two or three times a year, for many following years, always recharging our memories and chuckles regarding Jimmy’s Game Caller.

During one subsequent visit, we spotted it again on the shelf, and determined that the product was actually named the JOHNNY Stewart game caller!  As it had been printed in a script font – and we were young and not paying much attention, anyway – we hadn’t noticed the difference!

This failed to stop us from continuing our poor imitations of Jimmy for a number of years.

Boys just gotta have fun!

(FTC – neither Don’s, nor Jimmy Stewart (sorry Johnny Stewart!) gave us anything.  Go away.  I remember buying ammunition in later years, but I drove by the other day and it was named Don’s something else.  And Don’s Sport Shop doesn’t have a site on Google!  Tempus Fugit.)

Memorable Movie Mistakes

I’ve not been ‘on a date’ in some time.  It’s simply a matter of logistics – I’ve no extraneous funds and my car is a beater with no air conditioning.

The fact that I don’t travel is any circles with available women has nothing to do with it!

😛

I was thinking this morning about a few of my more memorable dates in the distant past.  Some with fondness; some not-so-much.

I used to like to attend the cinema.  There were many first-run films each week, lots of theaters from which to choose, and who doesn’t like sitting in the dark with a young woman? (this was in my 20’s – before I had been married, and subsequently divorced).

Now, of course, there are fewer movies and movie houses.  And one may sit at home in one’s skivvies and watch videos until the cows come home, with beer, pizza, and (if one is so lucky) company.

AND, one may pause to go to the bathroom!

Times have changed.

ANYWAY, I remembered a couple of dates.  One was a later Hitchcock film.  I did (and DO love Alfred Hitchcock).  My date said she did as well.  Were post-date antics in the offing?

Sadly NO.  The film was Frenzy.  A film of a serial killer rapist, made in London.  I think it was the first time Hitch actually exposed breasts on film.  Following a violent rape and strangulation.  Hardly something to arouse a normal young woman to later romance.

Sigh.

Another time, a former girlfriend returned to town and looked me up.  We went out a few times, and I had hope of rekindling the romance.  But, it was not to be…

She had mentioned she liked Burt Reynolds.  There was a new film out with him in it.  I thought “Hey!  Maybe this will get things going again?”

Hardly.  The film was Deliverance.  You remember – dueling banjos, homosexual rape?

I just couldn’t get a break!

(as an aside, the consummate actor Ned Beatty was the rape victim here.  I’ve wondered about the audition…“Hey, pages 18 and 19 are missing?  Don’t worry about it, Ned.)

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…