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Again, The Grim Reaper Does Not Rest

Remember last year, and the celebrities just dropping like flies?

Well, it is continuing unto 2017!

And how sad is THAT?  😦

BILL PAXTON, who went from bit player to fifth lead, to third lead, to romantic lead (!) to character actor.  (You KNOW how I love character actors!)

bp1

bp2If you don’t follow Hollywood news, you will not have heard.  But, he passed away from complications after heart surgery Saturday at age 61!

And from all reports was a funny, decent, kind man.  (Sometimes, when these Hollywood folks go away, little is said about their character.  Because they are @$$holes.  Obviously, not in this case.)  He was married 30 years, and had two children.  Hardly stereotypical Hollywood.

bp3

Stripes, The Terminator, Weird Science, Aliens, Miami Vice (TV), Navy Seals, Tombstone, True Lies, Twister, Apollo 13, Titanic, Big Love (TV), Hatfields & McCoys (TV), Training Day (TV) – just to name a few.

Word is the remaining episodes of Training Day are ‘in the can’ and will be shown.  Sadly, even if he had survived, word is also it would probably not have been renewed for a second season.

RIP, Bill.  You will be are missed!

 

Toy Gun Memories

As it states in the ‘about’ part of the blog, I’m a child of the 50’s.  Television, movies, play, were all about The Lone Ranger, Space Command, Warner Bros. cartoons, Forbidden Planet, The Untouchables, and all other manner of sanitized violence.

And my green, wooden toy box reflected that.

It was filled with cars, trucks, robots, construction equipment, tools, and yes, toy guns.  Including a multitude of cap guns and rifles-that-made-noise, play bullets and all manner of boy’s toys.  Not a doll in sight.

Sadly, when my Dad married my step-mother, the toy box was moved to the exterior of the house.  Wouldn’t want Guffaw’s toys to clutter the house, now would we?  😦

And, as I advanced in grade school, I played with them less.  This meant my Mattel™ Fanner Fifty (with left-handed holster!), Detective Special (both re-loadable with Matty Mattel bullets and ignited with Greenie Stickum Caps), the construction gear, cars, tools, and everything else were subjected to the elements.

And eventually discarded.  😦

(My friend Leigh’s parents did film me in full cowboy regalia once, reenacting some scene from a forgotten cowboy TV show, running, jumping, rolling into prone, drawing and shooting one of my cap guns.  Of course, the 8mm home movie is probably long lost.)  😦

This was when children played outside!

But, boys are nothing but ingenious!  🙂

My friends and I began constructing rubber-band guns, using scraps of wood we ‘found’ at housing construction sites.  (Hey, we had to have guns!)

a less-refined version of this

a less-refined version of this

Affix a spring closepin to one end, stretch a rubber band (or a series of them for greater distance) and viola’!  A toy gun with which we could play cowboy, or soldier, or spy, or whatever.

Of course, we were never happy with the limited distance or inaccuracy.  (Sound familiar?)

As we got into the 5th and 6th Grade, we clamored for more.

So we attached the rubber bands to the wood (ala a slingshot) and began looking for projectiles to shoot!  Obviously, after a few misadventures with pebbles and bent bobbie-pins, we made the universal decision to not shoot one another.

For safety sake.

Of course, escalation lead to model rockets, amateur rockets, BB guns, and eventually real guns.  Always something to shoot.

And, we still don’t shoot each other.

This isn’t South Chicago…

 

The King of Film Noir

Those familiar with this blog know I loves me character actors and film noir.  I’m certain this evolved from my Dad’s love of film and character actors.

Humphrey Bogart is one of my favorites, but there are so many others.

Robert Mitchum is the king.

If you’ve not seen The Night of the Hunter or (the original) Cape Fear, you have missed something.

Of course, he had an ‘interesting’ private life.  One of the early Hollywood types busted for marijuana use, he served a week in the county jail, then more time in a prison farm. (from Wikipedia)

On September 1, 1948, after a string of successful films for RKO, Mitchum and actress Lila Leeds were arrested for possession of marijuana.[7] The arrest was the result of a sting operation designed to capture other Hollywood partiers, as well, but Mitchum and Leeds did not receive the tipoff. After serving a week at the county jail, (he described the experience to a reporter as being “like Palm Springs, but without the riff-raff”) Mitchum spent 43 days (February 16 to March 30) at a Castaic, California, prison farm, with Life photographers right there taking photos of him mopping up in his prison uniform.[8] The arrest became the inspiration for the exploitation film She Shoulda Said No! (1949), which starred Leeds.[9] The conviction was later overturned by the Los Angeles court and district attorney’s office on January 31, 1951, with the following statement, after it was exposed as a setup:

After an exhaustive investigation of the evidence and testimony presented at the trial, the court orders that the verdict of guilty be set aside and that a plea of not guilty be entered and that the information or complaint be dismissed.

He did appear to be an early version of the stereotypical beatnik, but, considering his career, certainly not with an aversion to work(!)  Robert Mitchum was an American actor who was in over 110 films and TV series over the course of his career. (Wikipedia)

He was married to his wife Dorothy for 57 years!  He reportedly proposed by saying to her, “Stick with me Baby, and you’ll be farting through silk!”

Mitchum as Max Cady in Cape Fear (1962)

Mitchum as Max Cady in Cape Fear (1962)

Another Night As A Security Guard

I think I was first employed as a private security guard in 1972.  Last, in 1987.  For about six different companies over the years.  Interspersed with being a process server, private investigator, security consultant and numerous other jobs.

Consequently, sometimes my memories conjoin, and sometimes fade.  Sometimes, they make me cry (like restricting access to the urgent care facility to allow access for a seriously ill cancer patient – because the cancer made them stink!), and other times they make me chuckle.

Why haven’t I posted about this funny ever before?  I’d forgotten about it.  A recent course of Nyquil™ helped me to remember!  😛

Well, anyway…

I was a graveyard shift guard for an urgent care facility three days.  And substitute guard supervisor for two.  Often filling in for sick, ill, and lazy guards.  And those who just decided to quit at the last minute.

(If I couldn’t bribe someone else to fill in…)

One of the offices for the urgent care was adjacent to a popular stage theater/movie house.  And sometimes, the audience parking would bleed over into our lot.  Our job, as security, was to make certain they simply didn’t restrict patient parking.

Usually no issue or biggie.

But this was Phoenix’s Sombrero Playhouse!  Where much of central Phoenix ‘old’ money would go to watch plays, and sometimes first-run films.  Then they’d go up 7th Avenue to The Islands for a nice dinner out.

sombrero

Generally nice, older folks who didn’t want to be annoyed.  And had money to enforce that.

And, I was a conservative, somewhat sheltered young lad.  Just trying to do my job.

As a last minute aside, I was told there was a new movie at the Sombrero.  And some of the patrons ‘dressed in costume and makeup’ to see the film.  I was not to express alarm at their ‘getup’.

O-kaay.

I’d not heard of the film.  It was THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW!

So, a guy pulls in and asks me if it’s okay to park in the clinic lot.  I apologize and say no.  The first of many times that evening to people who looked (somewhat) like this:

rocky

I didn’t express alarm, but did have to stifle laughter!

And my boundaries were again widened.  Not because I wanted them to be, necessarily.

And Rocky Horror became an underground hit.  And took over ‘Midnight Movies’ at my nearby theater, The Valley Art.  The used to run indy films, then it became nothing but Rocky Horror every Friday and Saturday midnight!

Times were a changin’…

 

What Have We Learned?

What have we learned from the events of this week?

We cannot control others. (as if we didn’t already know this!)

Politicians are maddening.

The World is crazy.

People pass away when they do.  Something else over which we’ve no control.

Carrie Fisher.  Many of us feel sad because we liked her irreverent spirit, and The Star Wars character.  She was way too young.

And, of course, death reminds us of our own mortality.

Debbie Reynolds.  Debbie is of course, more of my parent’s generation.  But I grew up on many of her movies, and have an special fondness for Singin’ In The Rain.  The dancing.  The music.  The comedy.

And the fact it came out the year I was born.

Debbie’s demise was no surprise to me.  Nature says parents should not outlive their children.  Except sometimes they do.

Both my (ex)wife and I did.  Stating this is unpleasant is the understatement of a lifetime.

I understand how Debbie’s age and grief could precipitate strokes.  And I felt for her.  And mourn her passing.

We’re it not for blood pressure medication, I would be in stroke territory myself.  And for a few years after the accident, I thought it a distinct possibility.  And maybe hoped it would happen.

We’re on the cusp of another New Year.  Hopefully, better than the last.  You know what I’m going to say:

HOLD THOSE CLOSE WHOM YOU CARE ABOUT, AND TELL THEM YOU LOVE THEM – ESPECIALLY YOUR KIDS!

YOU NEVER KNOW…

 

The 300

No, not THOSE 300 (the Spartans – “Molon Labe”, etc.)

Those of you who have read this blog for more than a week (poor bast***s) know me well enough to know I was raised on TV and movies.  I’m still hooked, and love nothing more than wasting my time in front of the idiot box selecting from either live television or the DVR.

Besides, I cannot afford to do much else.

And television has evolved from my childhood in the 50’s (3, 4 or 5 channels, shutting down at night with The National Anthem, followed by a ‘test pattern’ – youngsters, ask anyone born before 1960!) to a multitude of cable and satellite networks broadcasting 24/7, numbering in the hundreds, visible on flat digital TVs, tablets, PCs and even smartphones.  From pretty much anywhere in the ‘civilized’ world!

Of course, much of it is crap!  😛

Didn’t Steve Martin say, “147 channels and nothing’s on.” ?

Of course, I can watch Underwater Argentinian Curling at 0300, if I choose!  (just kidding, but not by much.)

I didn’t pay much attention to the actors of my youth (except the character actors – love them!), specifically, the number.

The few shows from Hollywood, those from NYC, how many actors were in that pool in say, 1956?

Fast-forward to 2016, with all this technology, with all these networks and shows, all these choices…

How many actors in this pool?

I contend it’s roughly 300.  Because of my largely unscientific but copious viewing habits, I’ve noticed actor A on that series (lead) when that series gets cancelled, shows up on a new series (as a second lead) almost immediately!

And if THAT series gets cancelled, they magically appear in a third, almost immediately.  As a special guest.  One week, the guy’s a federal special agent, the next he’s a city cop.  And in 13 weeks (or less) he appears as a metrosexual TV reporter.

Of course, most of these folks are extremely ‘talented’, (or at least pretty people!)

Look at Ted Danson.  He began as a murdered cop in ‘The Onion Field’, Went to ‘Cheers’, then ‘CSI’, then ‘CSI Cyber’ and now ‘The Good Place’.  With lots more in between.

It just seems I keep seeing the same actors in different roles on different shows in different seasons.  Sometimes, it’s the only way I find out the previous show was cancelled!

And watching reruns makes it even more confusing.  I just watched an episode of Law & Order Criminal Intent (2001-2011), with Michael Emerson (as the main bad guy).  He has an ‘affair’ with Cara Buono, whom he ends up murdering.  (Victim #3).

Move to Person of Interest (2010-2015).  Michael Emerson is now Mr. Finch, the creator of ‘the machine’ who spies on everyone, and Cara Buono guest stars as Martine, whose job it is to assassinate Finch and his agents.  While I’m certain Mr. Emerson put in a good word with the casting folks, it further acknowledges the almost incestuous nature of the 300.

And why there are only 300.

Well, back to the idiot box…

Cara Buono

Cara Buono

Michael Emerson

Michael Emerson

Spoiled

The brilliant and beautiful Tamara posted recently the dearth of correct tactics and technique with regard to television shows and weapon technique.

She, of course, is correct.

I’ve posted in these pages regarding the same stuff – the guy in the show 24, for example.  Cup-and-saucer does not Weaver or Isosceles make…

But these martial faux pas go back decades.

jbThe Untouchables, M Squad, The Detectives, The FBI (in color!)  And don’t even bring up the spy genre – The Man From UNCLE (for example).  And the movies!  James Bond to Dirty Harry…

And thousands of other TV shows and films.

Weapon technique is terrible!  Cup-and-saucer.  Or worse yet, grabbing one’s wrist with the off hand.  Or supporting the shooting arm with the other under the forearm!

Shooting rifles and submachine guns from the hip!  Because it looks cool…

And the gun hand up next to the face.  Because it frames our hero with a gun next to their face, NOT because it’s a good idea!

And the ubiquitous fingers on triggers!

And many of us (mostly male) took their initial learning ques from these ‘techniques’.  This is why women are generally better students.  They don’t have to unlearn as much.

We do need to be reminded that these media are for entertainment, and are not documentaries or training aids, however.

But sometimes some of these Hollywood presentations are just too ludicrous to be able to suspend disbelief and enjoy.  Remember T.J. Hooker?

Having been a semi-professional magician in my youth, I’ve had much the same reaction to watching magicians on television.  Either I know the secret (or know something) and the performance loses it’s entertainment value.

Spoiled?  Sometimes.

Christmas Movies

My roommate and I differ slightly in which movies we like to watch to commemorate the holidays.

My roommate likes everything Christmas, especially SANTA CLAUS related.  The three Santa Clause films (Tim Allen), Miracle On 34th Street (two versions), It’s A Wonderful Life, Holiday Inn, White Christmas, The Bishop’s Wife – you name it, we’ve (I’ve) been subjected relegated thoroughly enjoyed them over the past week or so.  Some multiple times.

On DVD or BluRay, in Stereo High Fi…

Don’t get me wrong.  I like some of those, in small doses.  Some even get me a little misty…

But over-and-over tends to be a bit much.  (Sorry J.)

I blame commercial television.  Most networks essentially shut down production for the holidays, having fall or winter finales, promising new shows in February!

And giving us fewer choice in the likes of reruns, cartoons and the stuff enumerated above for our viewing pleasure.

It’s like Steve Martin said.  127 channels and nothing’s on.

For television addicts like me, it’s dire.

But, I found a way to counteract the Christmas movie doldrums.  I’ve included in the DVD rotation, Lethal Weapon and Die Hard!

As was recently stated on Facebook, it isn’t really Christmas until Hans Gruber is seen falling from Nakatomi Plaza!

Merry Christmas to all you movie fans like me out there…

Yep, Another Bob!

Long-time readers of my drivel will recall I seem to have attracted an inordinate number of friends, relatives and acquaintances named either BOB or DAVE.  (One guy was even named Robert Davidson!)

This is about yet another Bob…

I met Bob P. when he was a guard supervisor for B**** Security.  The Captain.  It was his function to travel to all the guard posts, usually at night, making certain the security guard had arrived for duty, was in uniform, awake and not intoxicated.  And to obtain a replacement should a guard call in sick, or just not show up.  Or, replace the guard himself, if no one was available.

He got to know me, as I was one of the ‘regulars’ who showed up for duty, knew his job, and had some kind of education.  He obtained permission from upper company management to make me his ‘second-in-command’. I became a lieutenant, obtained a small raise, and while continuing to work at my regular guard post three days a week, was tasked with doing the supervisor’s job the other two days.  The idea was so that Bob could get two days off.  Many ‘adventures’ ensued.

Bob was a large man, and had a deep, booming voice.  And loved to listen to and sing operatic music – in spite of the fact he had been born in the South.  Seriously, in another life, he could have been a professional singer or an announcer.

But, as it is with many people, Bob had a phobia.  His was getting up in front of  groups of people(!) Doing a long stint in the Air Force and traveling the World failed to cure him of that.

I followed Bob from B****, to D******* Security, and ultimately to TMCCC (in 1987).  He knew I’d both education and experience in investigation, and figured if he could do it, I could.

He loved movies, and was the first of the people I knew to buy a VCR!  It was a Magnavox, ran on vacuum tubes, and weighed a ton!  I believe it cost around $1000 (in 1975).  It took VHS-sized tapes, but the recording system had yet to be standardized.  He had hundreds he’d recorded off television that were unwatchable when the machine burned up in the mid-80s.  Lot’s of sci-fi and John Wayne.

We also shot competitively together in a league of armed security guards he helped form.  He reloaded much of the ammo we used.  We engaged in friendly competition – sometimes he would win; sometimes I would.

We worked together @ TMCCC for a number of years as credit card fraud investigators.  He became involved in a number of ‘beefs’ with management and left the company, returning to physical security. He divorced his second wife, and married a younger woman.  Then decided to move out-of-state and return to his Southern routes as a farmer.

We lost touch with one another.  Ultimately, utilizing the Internet, I determined he had passed away from a heart attack in Las Vegas(!?) in 2005.  I never found out what happened to his wife.

The reason all this came to mind was I remembered celebrating his 50th birthday, with a few other close friends.  He had been born October 30, 1939, simultaneous with the Orson Welles’ radio broadcast of The War Of The Worlds.  He would sometimes claim he was brought here by the Martians.

He was certainly out-of-this world.

I miss you, Bob.  You were a good friend.

Stepin’ Fetchit Meet Myra Breckinridge

from Never Yet Melted (in part):

Rodrigo Kazuo and Meg Perret found their classroom environment at Berkeley hostile, even when their professor was lecturing on Karl Marx (!), because the Western canon is exclusively composed of works by dead, white, European males, not a single person of color or transgendered individual makes the cut.

Because a majority of founders of Western thought were gay, Black women…

Sigh.

BTW, have you noticed more ‘persons of color’, homosexual, transgendered or perhaps gender-confused folks in your favorite television shows of movies?

I have.

NOT THAT I CARE, PARTICULARLY.

I remember my Father (who had some bigotry issues) railing against the infusion of Black folks in 60’s and 70’s TV in much the same way.  He said it was much the same in the 40’s and 50’s with Jewish people.  They went from being 3% of the population, to a significant minority of those in entertainment media.  (He, of course, forgot that the only work many Jewish folks could get was in the entertainment field!)

And it was much the same with Black folks.  13% of the population, but represented numerically larger in the entertainment media in the 70’s.

NOT THAT I CARE, PARTICULARLY.

My questions are these:  Does the actor bring quality to the role, or further the plot?  Or were they just added because of political correctness?

And now we have this infusion of gay/transgender etc. folks.  Some are quite entertaining, but in my humble opinion, some are just over-the-top.  And included for shock effect and/or political correctness.

Which does a disservice both to them in their sexuality or color, and to the audience by their inclusion for political reasons.

Stepin’ Fetchit meet Myra Breckenridge.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some folks I find clever, and entertaining, regardless of ethnicity or bent.  Others are just plain annoying.  I won’t give you specifics – you probably have your own.

A couple generations ago, Black people were largely invisible, or stereotyped, and gays (etc.) were just flamboyant characters.  No mention was made of their sexuality.

But now it seems we’re out of the box, for certain.

There’s a popular cable series about polygamy.

What’s next, pedophilia and bestiality?

Where do we go from here?

We should be inclusive of different cultures and sexuality.  As long as it reflects percentages and social mores.

Of course, I’m a libertarian.  (Until mandated) I can always change the channel.

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…